Jean Prouvé completed an apprenticeship as a blacksmith and set up his own workshop in Nancy in 1924. He subsequently created numerous furniture designs and in 1947 Prouvé was able to set up his own factory. In 1953, he was forced to leave the company following a dispute with the majority shareholder. In the following decades, he worked in Paris as a consultant engineer on numerous important construction projects.
He made architectural history once again in 1971, when he chaired the jury for the competition to build the Centre George Pompidou and played a decisive role in helping Piano and Rogers' design to prevail. Prouvé's work encompassed almost everything that required an industrial production method, from letter openers to door and window fittings, lights, furniture, façade elements, prefabricated houses, modular construction systems and large trade fair and exhibition buildings.
In close cooperation with the Prouvé family, Vitra began reissuing designs by the great designer in re-editions in 2002.
One of Jean Prouvé's most famous products was the Standard chair, which he designed in 1934.
The load on a chair is greatest at the back legs, where it has to support the weight of the upper body. Jean Prouvé implemented this simple insight in a concise way in the Standard chair: While a steel tube is sufficient for the less heavily loaded front legs, the rear legs of the chair are designed as voluminous hollow bodies that transfer the load to the floor.