Standard Seat: The Dedication To The Structural Requirements


French designer, architect and engineer Jean Prouvé launched the Standard seat in 1934, which emphasizes the basic concept of Prouvé in furniture design and construction, which is the firm commitment to structural requirements.

For a seat, the pressure on the rear leg is greater than the front, which is not difficult to understand, but there seems to be no other seat than the Standard seat for this principle. Its front legs are made of steel and light weight, and the rear legs are made of larger hollow steel that transfers weight to the ground. The steel plate that makes the rear legs looks like the wing of the airplane from the side, and the widest part is located where it is connected to the seat, where it is also the most stressed. The hollow section is tapered from the seat and determines the angle and position of the backrest.

The first seat was introduced in 1934 and was called the "fourth seat". There were three previous prototype designs, and the later version was called Standard. These seats are produced at Jean Prouvé's own factory, and most models have a metal frame and legs, and the seat and back are made of wood. There are also all-metal or all-wood seats, the latter of which were produced during the war due to metal shortages. Later, other materials were used and a detachable version was produced for easy handling. The last batch of seats was produced in the 1980s, and the legs were made of aluminum.


It was not until the beginning of this century that Jean Prouvé's work came out of France and was known by individual designers and collectors. Although there are still some revisions in his design works, he has never caused the attention he deserves, and the sales volume is not in line with the intrinsic value.

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Vitra sees Jean Prouvé as one of the great designers and engineers of the 20th century, and is comparable to Charles and Ray Eames. In 2006, after Vitra's design museum was completed, his work was also collected. Since 2002, with the support of Jean Prouvé's daughter, Vitra has made most of his designs into finished products. These designs are from the Vitra Design Museum and the Pompidou Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

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Why do companies like Vitra still produce designs from the last century? Because some of the past designs have never been surpassed, they still remain viable. The same is true of Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, etc. Their work is among the same as Jean Prouvé.

Rolf Fehlbaum's father, Willi Fehlbaum, the founder of Vitra, who served as chairman of the company for a long time, recalls: "In 1981, I started collecting Prouvé's work. His attention to structure made me very fascinated. The Eames couple are very similar. Designers of this type do not deliberately design a new product shape. Any new shape needs to be researched and explored for a long time in production and technology. When we consider the production of Prouvé I think Vitra can now offer a European product that rivals Eames."

Only like Vitra, to continue to understand the designer's design background and spread their products throughout the world, it is possible to inherit the design spirit of famous masters and prepare for the future.