Why does a company like Vitra, focused on contemporary design, manufacture a piece of furniture that was designed so long ago? The answer is very simple.
When the structure determines the design
French designer, architect, and engineer Jean Prouvé created the Standard in 1934. This design is a clear example of a key aspect of Prouvé's many furniture and architectural projects: his concern for structural requirements.
Why would a company like Vitra, focused on contemporary design, manufactures furniture that was designed so long ago? The answer is simple: because some designs from the past have not yet been surpassed and retain all their vitality and relevance.
Creating an original
Jean Prouvé completed his training as a metal craftsman before opening his own workshop in Nancy in 1924. During the following years he created numerous furniture designs until, in 1947, he set up his own factory. In 1953 he left the company due to disagreements with the majority shareholders. Over the following decades, Prouvé participated as a consulting engineer in important architectural projects in the city of Paris.
In 1971 he made his brand again in the history of architecture: as president of the jury, he played a crucial role in the design selection of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers for the Pompidou Center. Prouvé's work covers a wide variety of objects: from letter openers to door and window fittings, from lighting and furniture elements to prefabricated houses and façade components, from modular construction systems to large exhibition structures; In short, he has worked with almost everything that can be manufactured using industrial methods.
Vitra began reissuing the designs of this great French builder in 2002, in close collaboration with the Prouvé family.
Metal and wood
La Standard seat it was produced in Jean Prouvé's own factory. In most models, the frame and legs were metal, and the seat and backrest were wood. Other variants made entirely of metal or wood were also manufactured (the use of this material was common during the war, due to the shortage of metals). Some had padding made of different materials or removable components that made them easy to transport. In the eighties the last models were manufactured, which had aluminum rear legs.
Metal and plastic
La StandardSP (Siège en Plastique) bridges the past and the present, giving this iconic design a contemporary look without modifying its shape: the Standard SP has a very resistant plastic seat and backrest and can be ordered in a range of colors perfectly harmonized with the design. The matte finish of the powder coated bases is very durable and matches the plastic surfaces.
What is an original and what does it represent?
Over the past decades, Vitra has collaborated closely with some of the world's leading designers and their descendants. These collaborations have given rise to the production of numerous classics: furniture from another era that are still as contemporary and vital as ever and that still inspire and excite us today. An original always retains its value. An imitation will never be anything more than a copy, a stolen idea. The details make the difference: not only for the most obvious quality and variations, but also for the sensory and emotional appeal of the authentic product. An original is a companion for life, it can even survive its owner and pass to the next generation, who will receive it gratefully.