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Jean Prouvé, Facade panels with portholes

“While composing a structure I’ve never felt that I was developing a technique for architecture. It’s my belief that any structural design is an architectural design. In my mind they are indissociable.”

Jean Prouvé, L’Avenir des structures
Recherche et architecture, No. 16, 1973

A testament to the close relationship between architecture and design, JEAN PROUVÉ’s facade panels are characterized by being lightweight, by enabling a flexibility of composition, and by their finely crafted finish.
Manufactured by ATELIERS JEAN PROUVÉ until 1953, these architectural components are designed to be incorporated into prefabricated constructions and quickly assembled on site. Forming the link between the interior and the exterior, they can also be equipped with elements to enhance comfort, such as ventilation systems or porthole windows.

Convinced of their potential on the building components market, Jean Prouvé included his panels in a catalogue of standard models from 1936 on, envisaging mass production for a variety of applications. Initially made in wood and steel, it was in aluminum that hopes for a real industrial production lay. With his Maxéville workshops, Jean Prouvé embarked on an ambitious project to transform the construction process for buildings, replacing artisanal construction with an industrial process.


Developed in 1949 for the prototype of the Tropique house, the porthole panel was used as one of the main construction components for the so-called Métropole houses designed in the same year. Entirely prefabricated with a steel structure and aluminum body, a few examples of these houses were initially produced by hand in Maxéville.

“Individual, lightweight and dynamic”, the Métropole house was characterized by the quality of its construction
elements, among which were the porthole panels. Once assembled, they are noteworthy in their isothermal and acoustic efficiency. The transition between inside and outside is managed by the addition of the portholes to admit daylight.

In 1950, despite the public’s enthusiastic reception at the Salon des Arts Ménagers not resulting in a single order,
the government’s proposal to show one or several examples of the Métropole house at the “Synthèse des Arts Majeurs” exhibition initiated by Le Corbusier, says a lot about the very special place this production was to hold in the history of modern architecture.


Characterized by a lack of infrastructure, from schools to hospitals, via housing, the period of post-War reconstruction gave rise to the creation of a range of prefabricated architecture incorporating facade panels.
Taking part in a competition organized by the ministry of Education in 1949, Jean Prouvé designed a rural school whose components could be mass produced.
The constructor saw this brief as an opportunity to initiate a process of industrial production of economical constructions, suitable for several types of application.

In 1950, the government commissioned two prototype ensembles, one in Bouqueval in the Paris area, the other in Vantoux near Metz in eastern France. This commission enabled Jean Prouvé to perfect a previously developed process that had already proved its worth: a metal framework with axial portal frames, combined with different types of facade panels clad in aluminum.

Despite the success of the demonstration, these two schools remained the only examples ever made of the mass production so ardently hoped for by Jean Prouvé.

In their ingenious constructive system and the resulting aesthetic simplicity, the facade panels are historic pieces.
Epitomizing the visionary and resolutely modern mind of the ‘constructor’, they blend elegantly into contemporary interiors, where they take on a sculptural dimension.


December 5 – 10, 2023
Convention Center Drive & 19th Street
Miami Beach, USA
Booth G01

We are pleased to be back at Design Miami/ for its 19th edition starting tomorrow December 5!

In an elegantly designed installation, the gallery will exhibit a selection of exceptional pieces by JEAN PROUVÉ, including a rare S.A.M. Tropique no. 503 table from Cameroon and an all-aluminum porthole panel from a Metropole house.

A living room will be set up with a pair of armless easy chairs by PIERRE JEANNERET, a Forme Libre low table by CHARLOTTE PERRIAND and a SCAL no. 450 bed with swiveling tablet a.k.a. Antony bed by JEAN PROUVÉ and Charlotte Perriand.

Two monochromatic Bridge FB 11 armchairs, distinguishable by their vibrant red color, will accompany a S.A.M. no. 506 table from Brazzaville Congo (Africa).
Ordered from JEAN PROUVÉ to furnish the Air France building destined to house the company’s European personnel, this demountable dining table is finished with a tabletop in African wood.

The axial portal frame a.k.a. “Compas”, from the F 8X8 BCC demountable house designed by JEAN PROUVÉ and PIERRE JEANNERET, will be used as the guideline in conducting this exhibition. A model of this pavilion, a selection of contemporary photographs and historical drawings will highlight the ‘constructive imagination’ of Jean Prouvé.

Jean Prouvé, S.A.M. tropique no. 503 table, 1951

Derived from the prewar prototype, the metal version of the dining table base was finalized in 1951. This was a demountable model, as evidenced by the protrusion of the cap-ends where the crossmember frame meets the brace connecting the bent steel legs. This base was attached to the crosspieces of the upper frame with brackets and screws. Except for the rounded outer edge of the legs, the profiles and proportions are similar to those of the S.A.M. no. 502 wooden table.
Of the options for the top, the most frequent was plain or imitation-granite bent sheet aluminum, set on a steel support structure comprising four U-traverses. The metal parts of this model—S.A.M. Tropique no. 503—were often lacquered with contrasting colors. 90 examples were made in 1951 and around 15 still exist.


Design Miami/ Paris & Paris + par Art Basel

October 17 – 22, 2023
Hôtel de Maisons
51 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris

For the 1st edition of Design Miami/ Paris, GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN will present a selection of JEAN PROUVÉ‘s furniture, among the most emblematic of his designs.

Among the pieces on display in the Hôtel de Maisons will feature a rare Présidence desk and a sculptural Direction no. 353 swivel office chair. An exceptional set from the same provenance, comprising an S.A.M. no. 506 table and its four Métropole no. 305 chairs – in Van Dyck brown lacquered metal – will also be shown.

A 6×6 demountable house, designed by Jean Prouvé in 1944, will also be exhibited in the gardens of the mansion as part of the Design At Large program.


October 17 – November 6, 2023
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

For the 2nd edition of Paris + par Art Basel, GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN will inaugurate the Public Program and show the BCC demountable house, designed by JEAN PROUVÉ and PIERRE JEANNERET in 1941.

Produced in only a few examples between 1941 and 1943, the F 8X8 BCC house exemplifies an “all-wood” architecture, based on the axial portal frame construction system patented by Jean Prouvé in 1939. A product of Prouvé and Jeanneret’s powerful complementarity, this project is the result of the inventiveness of the two ‘esprits nouveaux’.

Further information to come.

Power Station of Art, Shanghai

GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN has been invited to lend a selection of furniture and architecture by JEAN PROUVÉ as part of the exhibition Paris Moderne 1914-1945: Architecture, Design, Film, Fashion, at the Power Station of Art.


Focused on Paris during the Golden Age, this retrospective showcases more than 300 pieces which illustrate thirty years of ingenuity. At this occasion, the gallery’s contributions are a 6 x 6 demountable house, three ‘Compas’ architectural elements and five chairs all conceived by Jean Prouvé, “constructor” of visionary genius and resolutely modern.


© Power Station of Art


This exhibition has been curated by the renowned architect and architecture historian Jean-Louis Cohen, who passed away on August 7th, 2023. Architecture lover, he shared his knowledge through classes, books and exhibitions. We pay tribute to him today and salute these achievements.


© Ekaterina Izmetieva


The gallery collaborated with Jean Louis Cohen on numerous occasions including the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2014, when he was the curator of the French pavilion. In the exhibition, entitled ‘Fundamentals’, the gallery presented a representative selection of architectural elements by Jean Prouvé.


© Luc Boegly

DESIGN MIAMI/ BASEL – JUNE 12 – 18, 2023

For the 17th edition of Design Miami/ Basel, GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN will present a collection of key pieces by JEAN PROUVÉ, illustrating the creative genius of the constructor and the timelessness of his work.

An exceptional selection of 16 Jean Prouvé chairs will be exhibited, each a different model or colour. From the early 1930s, with the historic Cité chair, to the 1950s with his signature Métropole no. 305 chairs, not forgetting the masterful Direction no. 353 swivelling office chair, this selection of iconic pieces provides a remarkable testimony to Jean Prouvé’s unique vision and demonstrates the technical and aesthetic evolutions seen throughout his career.

A selection of three particularly noteworthy pieces from Cameroon – all in aluminum – will also be shown: a magnificent SAM Tropique no. 303 table, and an exceptional no. 101 wardrobe and no. 152 sideboard. Iconic Jean Prouvé pieces, characterized by their extreme rarity, they illustrate the fruit of his research into the concepts of convertibility and mobility for export, a demonstration of his audacity and modernity.

A very rare rolling stepladder made for the BNP Paribas bank vaults in Paris – of which two examples are currently held in the collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Musée des Beaux-arts in Nancy; a Cafétéria no. 512 table with compass legs; a Cité bed in red – without doubt the most iconic model of this type in the work of Ateliers Jean Prouvé; and a large swing-jib lamp with sleek lines will complete the display.

DESIGN MIAMI/ BASEL Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel, Switzerland
Booth G16
Click here for visitor info

TEFAF NEW YORK – May 11 – 16, 2023

For the eighth edition of TEFAF New York, GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN will show a selection of pieces by JEAN PROUVÉ, CHARLOTTE PERRIAND and PIERRE JEANNERET, key figures of 20th-century architecture and design.

The gallery will exhibit a selection of iconic furniture, lighting and architectural pieces by JEAN PROUVÉ, “constructor” of visionary genius and resolutely modern.

Believing that “there is no difference between the construction of a piece of furniture and a building”, Jean Prouvé developed a “constructive idea” based on a rationale of fabrication and functionality that generated a clean aesthetic. This avant-garde thinking, coupled with humanitarian preoccupations and the notable innovative qualities that marked his work as a whole, continues to demonstrate their timeless modernity.

In particular, this exhibition will include a very rare rolling step-ladder made for the BNP Paribas bank vaults in Paris – of which an example is held in the collection of the Centre Pompidou; an exceptional lighting ramp made for the Social Security offices in Le Mans and produced in only 12 copies; a façade panel with portholes of contrasting-colored surfaces from one of the two “Maisons Tropicales” in Brazzaville (Congo), icons of modernist architecture; a panel with portholes from a “Metropole” house, characteristic of Prouvé’s functional approach to design; an ultra-rare sideboard characterized by its smaller size; and a large, very sleek swing-jib lamp.

A perfect blend of simplicity and elegance, a sofa and two fireside chairs designed by PIERRE JEANNERET for the High Court and the University of Punjab in Chandigarh (India); and majestic bookshelves by CHARLOTTE PERRIAND, a one-off piece commissioned to Editions Steph Simon in 1959, complete the setting.

TEFAF New York Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue New York, NY 10065
Click here for visitor info