A celebration of design: Jean Prouvé 6×9 Demountable House at Design Shanghai 2015

Today marks the birthday of Jean Prouvé. Born in 1901, Jean Prouvé is one of the greatest French designers of the 20th century.

This year, among the highlights of Design Shanghai’s varied programme of events and installations, Jean Prouvé’s newly restored 6X9 Demountable House made its Asia debut. Set in the courtyard of the intricate Shanghai Exhibition Centre, the house could be viewed from all angles and allowed visitors to experience its beautiful transformation from day to night.

Chinese artist, Wang Yuyang presented a site-specific intervention entitled ‘Equip’. Selected by internationally renowned contemporary art curator Jérôme Sans, Yuyang’s sculpture reflected the aesthetics and philosophy of Jean Prouvé’s House and its relevance in China’s contemporary society.

© Anh Phi

© Anh Phi

The sculpture was created using a 3D process that transformed the linear dimensions of the house through binary code, which then created a 3D rendering. Craftsmen translated the renderings into a handmade sculptural form using various materials specified by Yuyang such as copper, wood, steel and plastic.

© Anh Phi

© Anh Phi

Jérôme Sans said:
“From modernity to hyper-modernity, Wang Yuyang’s “Equip” at Design Shanghai is a new conquest of time, space, form and shape. How the very angled space of the Maison Jean Prouvé becomes spherical, transforming the past century’s manifest structure of western modernism into a complex sculpture of the future “.
Designed in 1944, Jean Prouvé’s 6×9 Demountable House was originally created as an emergency shelter for the inhabitants of the Lorraine region in France displaced by WWII. When Bally acquired this rare early example of prefabricated housing it was very damaged. A 12-person expert team has worked on the house to get it back to pristine condition in time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the house this year.

© Anh Phi

© Anh Phi

The iconic house was delivered to Design Shanghai as a kit of parts and assembled on site by a team of French experts including Jean Prouvé expert Eric Touchaleaume. Two metal gantries support the three sections of the roof beam, which in turn supports mountings for the wall and roof panels. Treated spruce panels nailed to the metal frame form the structure of the walls, with wooden window frames and a corrugated iron roof completing the shell of the building.

© Anh Phi

© Anh Phi

The acquisitions of Jean Prouvé’s Demountable House represent Bally’s commitment to art and design and the brand’s modernist roots. In 1929 Bally commissioned French modernist architect Mallet Stevens to build its flagship store in Paris and in 1949 – better known as Le Corbusier – was commissioned to envision a new concept for the same Paris store, which was unfortunately never built. Bally’s modernist heritage and principles of using cutting-edge techniques and world-class craftsmanship continues to be championed through Function and Modernity (functionandmodernity.com), an initiative and an online digital magazine by Bally to reconnect with modernism and the art world, curated by Thomas Erber.

© Anh Phi

© Anh Phi

To complement the Jean Prouvé House, two talks were presented at the AD China Design Forum. Jérôme Sans was joined on stage by Wang Yuyang to discuss ‘Equip’ and how it is specific to the Jean Prouvé House, while Eric Touchaleaume, Curator and Prouvé expert, discussed Jean Prouvé’s career and his concept of light architecture.

For more information visit: Function & Modernity

Jean Prouvé Biography
Jean Prouvé was born in Paris, France in 1901 and is one of the 20th century’s most important and influential designers. His wide-ranging oeuvre combined bold elegance with economy of means and a strong social conscience. He was a founding member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) in 1930. He also established his own manufacturing firm, Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, for which he produced lightweight metal furniture from his own designs as well as pieces in collaboration with some of the best-known designers of the time, including Pierre Jeanneret. Jean Prouvé favoured the public sector, which reflected his strong social approach. By 1936 he was producing standard models of furniture such as chairs, desks and stools for hospitals, schools and offices.


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