Jean Prouvé (8 April 1901 - 23 March 1984) was a French architect and designer. Prouvé trained as an artisan blacksmith and his knowledge of metal remained the foundation of his work and career. In 1931 he established the Atelier Jean Prouvé, where he began to produce light-weight metal furniture of his own design, as well as collaborating with Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand. Furniture production became a core part of his business. By 1936 he was producing a catalogue of standard models for hospitals, schools and offices. The potential for mass production inspired Prouvé to develop and patent industrial products using folded sheet metal for the construction of buildings.
In 1947 he moved his operations to Maxéville. At Maxéville he set about fulfilling his ambitious plan to alter the building process from a craft-based practice to that of a mechanized industry, producing not only houses, prefabricated huts, doors, windows, roof elements and façade panels but also a production line for furniture based on his own designs. Here the prefabricated refugee houses of 1945 were developed, followed by the flat-packed, tropical houses for Niger and the Republic of Congo in 1949 and 1950.
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