Jean Prouve – Designer in Focus

Jean Prouve was a French metal worker, Architect and designer. His main achievement was transferring manufacturing technology from industry to architecture, without losing aesthetic qualities. His design skills were not limited to one discipline.

He was a founding member of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) in 1930. In the following year he established his own manufacturing firm, Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé. During the 1930s, the company produced numerous furniture designs, as well as some of the first prefabricated architectural elements, including components for the Maison du Peuple in Clichy (in collaboration with the architects Beaudoin and Lods), whose steel-and-glass structure attracted a great deal of attention.

He taught as professor at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) from 1957-70. As chairman of the jury for the Centre Pompidou architectural competition in 1971, he played a major role in selecting the design of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

Between 1980-84, Prouvé again turned his attention to the further development of his furniture designs. He died in Nancy in 1984. In many of his works, Jean Prouvé achieved the goal of uniting functional requirements, the honest use of materials and economical concerns with the complex demands of mass production. Beginning in 2002, in close collaboration with the Prouvé family, Vitra has devoted itself to the re-edition of numerous designs by this great constructeur.

A firm favourite here at Cimmermann, Jean Prouve’s designs are truly unique and offer an alternative to the norm.

Our favourites include the Standard Chair and Standard SP Chair – a new version made of moulded plastic and metal.

Jean Prouve Standard SP Chair
Standard SP Chair and EM Table with laminate top – love the green
He also designed lights, a true classic Potence is one of a kind.

Jean Prouve - Potence Light
Potence Light

For the Cite University in France he designed the Cite Chair – lucky students.

Jean Prouve - Cite Chair
Cite Chair with red arms and beige fabric

Some of Prouve’s early vintage pieces fetch big money from collectors nowadays.

Prouve Desk and Chair
Vintage Prouve Desk and Chair
Prouve Sideboard
Jean Prouve Vintage Sideboard – a thing of beauty

Prouve’s architecture has the same simple lines as his furniture.

Early Prouve building
Early Prouve building


Jean Prouve - House and Antony Chairs
Jean Prouve house and his iconic Antony Chairs
Jean Prouve's House
Exterior of Jean Prouve’s house in the French Winter

Jean Prouve was a visionary whose designs live on today and will do for many years to come.

See more from Jean Prouve on our Pinterest Board.

The Team at Cimmermann


Sarah Kay – Designer in Focus

Cimmermann talk to Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay’s considered approach to the craftsmanship of her wooden furniture makes her one of our favourites. Her pieces are high quality; alongside Andrea Stemmer she is credited with designing the contemporary oak furniture for luxury hotel Cowley Manor in the Cotswold’s. She now combines working for leading manufacturers and designing residential interiors with the production of bespoke pieces. For SCP she has designed one of their best selling and fast becoming iconic Agnes shelving.

SCP Agnes Side Table
Simple SCP Agnes side Table
SCP Agnes Shelving
SCP Agnes Wall shelving by Kay & Stemmer

Cimmermann: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the products you design?

Sarah Kay: My background is in fine cabinet making, having studied at Parnham College in Dorset. I live in both London and rural South West France – an ideal combination of opposites. I hope that my products communicate a love and appreciation for wood. I want them to be a joy to use and look at. I make prototypes and chip away at the proportions and details until it feels right, the aim is to achieve a quiet aesthetic that balances function, use of materials and form.

C: What type of materials do you use?

SK: My expertise is in wood – and I am conscious of which types of wood, the more local the better but if it comes from abroad it must be properly certified as from a responsibly managed source. I love to learn about new materials though and have incorporated glass, leather, metal and flip-flops (no joke) in my work…

SCP Agnes Console Table
SCP Agnes Console table with leather lined drawer

C: What are your main influences?

SK: I’m influenced by everything – art, cities, countryside, and architecture – from skyscrapers to cabins, the old and the new…

C: What have you got coming up this year? What does the future hold?

SK: I’m very excited to be going to teach at The Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine next month. I’ll be tutoring a module on designing a product for batch production. In the last couple of months I have been collaborating with Chris Eckersley on a range of cabinets. Later this year should see the installation of some very big doors I’ve designed for the entrance to a new building in St James’… I love having so many different things to work on.

C: What project have you enjoyed working on the most?

SK: Recently I joined a group of other designers on a Windsor Chair making course in the woods in Herefordshire – we did everything using hand tools from splitting logs to turning spindles using a pole lathe. Although I understood the theory behind the techniques used, you can’t beat the experience of doing it yourself.

C: Where can we go to see your work?

I show some of my bespoke pieces and small batch products through Contemporary Applied Arts ( in London and at various other galleries and exhibitions at different times. The best is to check my website for details.

Sarah Kay
Close up of the detail and craftmanship that goes into Sarah’s work

For details of the SCP range including our favourite designs by Sarah – Cedric Desk, Agnes shelving, Jeeves shelving visit: SCP