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  • Provenance

    Ferembal house, Nancy

  • Literature

    Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé, Vol. 2, Paris, 2007, illustrated p. 462
    Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé and Jean Nouvel: Ferembal House, Paris, 2011, illustrated p. 210

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ferembal House, the complex housing the Ferembal offices in Nancy, was built by the Ateliers Jean Prouvé in 1948. The bent steel frame comprises five axial portal frames set on a pressed steel floor and held together by ridge beams which support the purlins and aluminum roofing slabs. The prefabricated double-sided wood panels used for the facades slot together interchangeably, which is also the case for the winter garden and the internal partition walls. After the war, Ferembal CEO Pierre Bindschedler had been a member of the French government team in the Saar, and had been able to back Prouvé’s plans for involvement in large-scale creation of housing and public facilities via mass production of the steel components for the portal frame system. But Prouvé was ahead of his time, and only a handful of prototypes were ever made. Rescued from the demolition of the Ferembal site in 1983, these striking examples are eloquent illustrations of the approach’s technical and functional virtues and its adaptability.

  • Artist Biography

    Jean Prouvé

    French • 1901 - 1984

    Jean Prouvé believed in design as a vehicle for improvement. His manufactory Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, located in Nancy, France, produced furniture for schools, factories and municipal projects, both within France and in locations as far flung as the Congo. Though he designed for the masses, pieces such as his "Potence" lamps and "Standard" chairs are among the most iconic fixtures in sophisticated, high-design interiors today. Collectors connect with his utilitarian, austere designs that strip materials down to the bare minimum without compromising on proportion or style.

    Prouvé grew up in Nancy, France, the son of Victor Prouvé, an artist and co-founder of the École de Nancy, and Marie Duhamel, a pianist. He apprenticed to master blacksmiths in Paris and opened a small wrought iron forge in Nancy. However it was sheet steel that ultimately captured Prouvé's imagination, and he ingeniously adapted it to furniture, lighting and even pre-fabricated houses, often collaborating with other design luminaries of the period, such as Robert Mallet-Stevens, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand.

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41

Suspended cabinet, designed for Ferembal House, Nancy

1948
Painted steel, painted tubular steel, oak, glass.
Cabinet: 45 7/8 x 38 x 11 1/2 in (116.4 x 96.6 x 29.3 cm); installation height variable
Manufactured by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France. From the production of two.

Estimate
$60,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $68,500

Design Masters

11 December 2012
New York