Jean Prouve's Standard Chair was finally released in its current form in 1950, more than a decade after Prouve had begun work on one of his most celebrated creations. Devised to give extra support to the user's upper body, it utilises a hollow steel frame that can be shaped to a different thickness, depending on the load that it bears. With a shaped wooden back and seat, every part of it provides exceptional support and comfort.
The Standard Chair is the result of a long, drawn-out battle between Jean Prouve and an age-old furniture design problem. Early on in his career, Prouve noticed that the back legs of chairs were taking so much more of the strain, as they supported the weight of the user's upper body. In response, he spent the next 16 years developing and perfecting a design that would give added support to the back of the chair, while still keeping his typical avant-garde style. What he produced was a sumptuous example of the possibilities of wood and hollow steel, which remains a style icon to this day.
Jean Prouvé was born in Nancy, France. His father Victor Prouvé, belonged to an art collective which included the great Art Nouveau artists Emile Galle and Louis Majorelle. Prouvé himself was first trained as a blacksmith before attending engineering school in Nancy. His great knowledge of metal became the foundation of his work and career. In 1923 he opened his first workshop in Nancy, this would soon became one out of many.
"Never design anything that cannot be made."
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