On View: A Sweeping Tribute To French Designer Jean Prouvé

A new exhibit in Torino, Italy, shows off recently uncovered gems from Jean Prouvé’s body of work.

The mid-century designer Jean Prouvé is not short on posthumous accolades or career retrospectives. Just two years ago, architect Norman Foster co-curated a show in Madrid, and Vitra announced they would reissue 17 of his lesser-known furniture pieces.


A Passion for Prouvé is a more intimate glimpse into the designer’s body of work. The pieces all hail from the private collection of Laurence and Patrick Seguin, who discovered Prouvé’s designs during the late 1980s. The couple’s adoration for him transformed over time into advocacy to get his pieces into famous museums and important collections.

Now, at their own gallery, the couple is showing about 40 pieces from their private collection for the first time. Their diligent collecting over the years has paid off, and the collection is mostly prototypes and extremely rare artifacts. Their register includes an armchair created in 1932 for the University dormitory of Nancy, a light armchair designed in 1954 for the University of Antony, as well as Prouvé’s notably forward-thinking furniture produced for Africa.

The chance to view prototypes and disassembled models is an education in flexible design thinking. These underscore Prouvé’s trademarks: mechanisms for smart and easy assembly, so that both the furniture and structures could be moved and modified as needed. Look no further than the boom in prefab architecture now to understand that Prouvé was ahead of his time.

A Passion for Jean Prouvé: From Furniture to Architecture, runs until September 8, 2013, at Galerie Patrick Seguin, in Torino, Italy.

(h/t Daily Icon)

All photos are courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin.

About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.