2022 for Vitra is the year of Jean Prouvé.
It all started in Paris in the 1980s, when Rolf Fehlbaum finds a rare Antony Chair, an armchair designed by Prouvé at early 1950s for Antony's university residences near Paris.
With its dynamically curved wooden shell and the characteristic metal base, this armchair was one of the French designer's latest furniture creations.
This is the beginning of the most complete Prouvé furniture collection in the world, which the Vitra Design Museum currently oversees. And it is also the first step that will lead to the re-edition in series of the pieces by Jean Prouvé starting from 2002.
Exactly two decades have passed since the company reissued the first series of the atypical French designer and the calendar is full of events.
The Jean Prouvé 2022 agenda
First appointment in June 2022. Vitra launches a limited edition of the Kangourou Chair during Art Basel 2022.
The occasion is the inauguration of the square dedicated to Jean Prouvé inside the Campus Vitra, a fundamental part of the agenda dedicated to the French designer.
Kangourou limited edition n.2 , during the opening of the Vitra showroom in London in September, is the second appointment on the calendar, which highlights an important philological work on colors conceived by Jean Prouvé for design and architecture, always different according to the context and in dialogue with the place and space.
The Prouvé palette is back
From Blé Vert, which describes the color of young green wheat, to Gris Vermeer, which alludes to the gray tones in the work of the painter Johannes Vermeer, the Bleu Marcoule of the homonymous power plant designed in the 1950s.
It is the Prouvé palette selected for projects already in the catalog, such as the Standard Chair or the Fauteuil de Salon and this year's new entries: Abat-Jour Conique, a conical lampshade that Prouvé developed in 1947 for the Potence wall lamp, the two stools Tabouret N ° 307 and Tabouret Métallique as well as the Rayonnage Mural wall shelf, designed by Prouvé in 1936 for the École Nationale Professionelle in Metz.
Vitra Session: on 20 October an appointment dedicated to Jean Prouvé
The brand is preparing to deepen the life and works of Jean Prouvé during a Vitra Session, the online format of talks and cultural insights. The meeting on 20 October 2022 will examine Prouvé's multifaceted work with Catherine Prouvé, Rolf Fehlbaum, Christian Grosen and Nora Fehlbaum.
We will talk about the Prouvé Collection of the Vitra Design Museum and how the work of an engineer / designer who loved to build detachable houses and make countless structural variants of his projects is again so overwhelmingly current.
In the meantime, Interni asked Christian Grosen, Chief Design Officer of Vitra.
How do you re-edit a classic? We asked Christian Grosen, CDO of Vitra
The Vitra Design Museum Collection is a precious source of inspiration that we use a lot in the selection of the pieces that we believe are relevant and suitable for the Vitra collection.
The beginning of the relationship between Vitra and the work of the French designer was marked by a chair of the latter. More than twenty years later, Vitra is revisiting the collection with new colors and introducing a whole series of lesser-known models.
It is a philological work that brings the pieces into the contemporary world and makes them current while working on memory and the past.
How do you concretely proceed, for example in the case of the Kangourou Chair limited edition?
There are various versions of Fauteuil Visiteur, the original name of Kangourou.
Three are kept at the Vitra Design Museum: a Fauteuil Visiteur with plywood backrest and aluminum seat, another Fauteuil variant with wooden slats and adjustable backrest, and finally a very rare Fauteuil Kangourou which has these pronounced hind legs in wood.
And it is on this latest version, witty dubbed Canguro, that we decided to work on two limited editions in 2022. The name describes its static construction, which shifts the weight to the rear.
Has Prouvé's original design from 1948 been updated?
Authenticity and quality are our mantra. We always try to keep new and existing products as close to the original as possible. Whether it's the material, the production process, the colors, we want to remain faithful to the original and to the Prouvé philosophy.
In close collaboration with the Prouvé family, some of the designer's selected projects finally went into series production in 2002, with the aim of making forgotten projects accessible to the public again.
Who was involved in the project?
Vitra's color and material experts worked hard on the new color palette and our technical team made them. We also have a very good relationship with Catherine Prouvé, Jean Prouvé's daughter, and we work closely with her whenever we update colors or add new pieces to the Collection.
Why is Jean Prouvé's work still precious and how do these pieces meet the expectations of contemporary interiors?
Prouvé's work and lasting aesthetics are more important than ever. In a crowded market his work is unique and stands out. His furniture is far from ordinary, they do not leave indifferent, which is why they are significant for contemporary interiors.
One of Vitra's roles in the design industry is to preserve and manage some very important parts of the history of industrial design.
Re-editing classic pieces no longer in production is a delicate job: it's about maintaining balance. On the one hand, we remain faithful to the original and guarantee authenticity. But that's not enough: we make sure that the Classics are relevant both from a technical and aesthetic point of view.