A blacksmith by trade and always a craftsman first, Jean Prouvé is a little known modernist whose career produced some of the great pieces of 20th century design.With parallels drawn across the sea to the work and approach of American's Charles and Ray Eames, and while fellow craftsmen Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand worked for Le Corbsier in Paris producing furniture that includes the now famed LC series, 1923 marked the year that Jean Prouvé opened his own workshop in Nancy, France, to experiment with materials, build prototypes and make furniture and buildings. Prouvé rejected the tradition of decorative furniture of the time and also the notion of Capitalism. In his fully equipped Utopia, new formulas for architecture and furniture were developed and managed under the socialist model of work sharing. His architecture was mobile, modular, practical and affordable: his furniture shaped by mechanical processes instead of traditional methods.
After twenty years of research and negotiation with the Prouvé estate, Swiss manufacturer Vitra re-released a collection of Prouvé's best pieces in 2004 – including the Guéridon table, the Cité armchair (pictured), the Standard chair and the Antony chair – his work joining modernist contemporaries George Nelson, Le Corbusier, Verner Panton and Charles and Ray Eames.
In 2011 Vitra in collaboration with the Netherlands fashion label G-Star and the Prouvé family released Prouvé RAW in line with G-Star's pared back aesthetic and focus on form and materiality. The collection includes seventeen pieces from the archive that focus on both the lesser-known pieces and the essence of Prouvé's ideas, while adding new contemporary colours, textiles and details to the range.