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November 5, 2010

Long before prefab gained renewed popularity a decade ago, mass production was considered avant-garde thinking. A new exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris titled Jean Prouvé: Architecture celebrates the mentality the French designer who embraced prefabrication in the mid-20th century, aimed to mass produce modular furnishings and components that were simple to ship and easy to erect.

Born in Paris in 1901, Prouvé was trained as a young man as a blacksmith, though his interests soon turned to artisan work with steel and aluminum and did early work electrically welding sheet metal.

Born in Paris in 1901, Prouvé was trained as a young man as a blacksmith, though his interests soon turned to artisan work with steel and aluminum and did early work electrically welding sheet metal.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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In 1930, Prouvé founded Atelier Jean Prouvé and turned his attention to furniture design, working with forward-thinking designers of the time like Le Corbusier. His interest in mass production lead to designs of modular pieces and components used in desig

In 1930, Prouvé founded Atelier Jean Prouvé and turned his attention to furniture design, working with forward-thinking designers of the time like Le Corbusier. His interest in mass production lead to designs of modular pieces and components used in designs for schools, hospitals, offices, and other public spaces. Shown here are modular designs installed at the Gagosian Gallery.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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Demand for Prouvé's furniture was on the serious up and up in the 1930s. Shown here around a table are his Standard Chairs, designed in 1934 and now <a href="http://www.vitra.com/en-us/home/products/standard/overview/">available from Vitra</a>.

Demand for Prouvé's furniture was on the serious up and up in the 1930s. Shown here around a table are his Standard Chairs, designed in 1934 and now available from Vitra.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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During and after World War II, when mass production and prefabrication were seen as a solution to the high demand for simple shelters, Prouvé was already well-versed in its vocabulary and had a factory running outside of the city of Nancy. He designed and

During and after World War II, when mass production and prefabrication were seen as a solution to the high demand for simple shelters, Prouvé was already well-versed in its vocabulary and had a factory running outside of the city of Nancy. He designed and constructed prefabricated houses and parts as well as manufacturing flat-packed homes for Niger and the Republic of Congo.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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In the 1950s, Prouvé lost his shop outside of Nancy but began collaborating with Charlotte Perriand on furniture for institutions such as the Cité Universitaire. Shown here are Prouvé's <a href="http://www.vitra.com/en-us/home/products/cit/overview/">Cité

In the 1950s, Prouvé lost his shop outside of Nancy but began collaborating with Charlotte Perriand on furniture for institutions such as the Cité Universitaire. Shown here are Prouvé's Cité armchair and two Visiteur lounge chairs around his Gueridon Bas coffee table.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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Though Prouvé's career was pinpointed with work as an industrialist, architectural consultant, teacher, and even as a juror for the Centre Pompidou architectural competition in 1971 (won by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers), it was always within the greater

Though Prouvé's career was pinpointed with work as an industrialist, architectural consultant, teacher, and even as a juror for the Centre Pompidou architectural competition in 1971 (won by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers), it was always within the greater context of furniture design, which he turned to again late in his life, before passing in 1984. Since the early 2000s, Vitra has been manufacturing many of Prouvé's iconic designs. The show Jean Prouvé: Architecture is on view at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris through December 23, 2010. For more information, visit gagosian.com.

Courtesy of 
Gate Studios
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Born in Paris in 1901, Prouvé was trained as a young man as a blacksmith, though his interests soon turned to artisan work with steel and aluminum and did early work electrically welding sheet metal.

Born in Paris in 1901, Prouvé was trained as a young man as a blacksmith, though his interests soon turned to artisan work with steel and aluminum and did early work electrically welding sheet metal.

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