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Standard Chair
Iconic Designs

Standard Chair

About the Design

Most people don’t contemplate how a chair was engineered before they sit in it — they simply trust that it will support them. But the overtly utilitarian Standard chair confronts potential sitters with its design, demonstrating in a forthright manner the engineering that renders it possible for a chair to bear weight. For a traditional chair with four legs, such as the aptly titled Standard chair, it’s the back two legs that carry the most stress. Its designer, Jean Prouvé (1901–84) demonstrates this concept through the piece’s visually robust, fin-shaped rear legs and its slim, tubular steel front counterparts.


The largely self-taught French architect, born in Paris to visual artist Victor Prouvé and pianist Marie Duhamel, was surrounded by the arts from an early age: His parents’ social circle in his adopted hometown of Nancy included furniture designer Louis Majorelle and glass artist Emile Gallé. The elder Prouvé cofounded an artist collective called École de Nancy (“the Nancy School”), a group that championed a connection between art and industry. The younger Prouvé was highly influenced by the aesthetics and ideals of the collective. He went on to study at the city’s school of fine arts as a teenager, served as an apprentice to a blacksmith and then joined a metal workshop in Paris. In 1923, he opened his own workshop, where he focused on wrought-iron elements such as railings and lamps but also dabbled in furniture design. He continued to explore a merging of art, industry and society in his work, and during the interwar period and throughout World War II, Prouvé turned his attention to social projects made possible by mass production, designing bicycles, stoves and affordable prefabricated structures that served as army barracks, housing for refugees and even vacation homes.


It was during this period in 1934 that Prouvé designed the Standard chair for the University of Nancy, using tubular and sheet steel for the legs and wood for the seat and backrest. He more often thought of himself as an engineer rather than an architect or designer — a sentiment shared by Le Corbusier, a client of Prouvé’s who regarded him as a constructeur, a “builder.” Le Corbusier was just one renowned architect who Prouvé worked with over the course of his career; he also collaborated with furniture makers Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret as well as artist Alexander Calder, resolving design problems with straightforward solutions. Today the Standard chair is produced by Vitra.


Jean Prouve Standard Chair

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8 Mixed Vitra Standard SP Chairs
By Vitra, Jean Prouvé
Located in New York, NY
Qty: 2 Base: Ecru / Back and seat: Olive / Glides: Hard glides Qty: 2 Base: Japanese red / Back and seat: Deep black / Glides: Hard glides Qty: 1 Base: Mint / Back and seat: ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Basalt and Deep Black by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Olive & Ecru by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak & Ecru by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Metal

Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak & Japanese Red by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Metal

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Citron & Chocolate by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak and Black by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Metal

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Mint by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Japanese Red by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard SP Chair in Deep Black and Basalt by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Plastic

Vitra Standard Chair in Natural Oak and Japanese Red by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Metal

Vitra Standard Chair in Natural Oak and Black by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé, Vitra
Located in New York, NY
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern

Materials

Metal

Pair of Jean Prouvé "Chaise En Bois" Chairs, circa 1940, France
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Girona, Spain
Pair of Jean Prouvé "Chaise En Bois" wooden standard chairs. Original condition and patina. Very unique collectors' piece. Provenance: Galerie Clement Cividino circa 1940, Fran...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Wood

Jean Prouvé "Tout Bois" Chair, France, circa 1941
By Jean Prouvé
Located in La Teste De Buch, FR
"Tout Bois" by Jean Prouvé, circa 1941 Solid wood and plywood.
Category

Vintage 1940s French Chairs

Materials

Wood, Plywood

Set of 6 Jean Prouvé Standard SP Chairs in Teak Brown and Red for Vitra
By Vitra, Jean Prouvé
Located in Glendale, CA
Set of 6 Jean Prouvé standard SP chairs in teak brown and red for Vitra. In like new and unused condition with original Vitra boxes, stickers and “Certificates of Authenticity”. T...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

Pair of Jean Prouvé Mid Century Modern Upholstered Standard Chairs, circa 1950
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Pair of Standard chairs designed by Jean Prouvé. Manufactured by Ateliers Prouve, France, circa 1950. Model 305 in wood, upholstered in red many years ago by the previous owner. ...
Category

Vintage 1950s French Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Metal

Set Of Four Jean Prouvé "Standard" Chairs, 1950s
By Jean Prouvé
Located in New York, NY
Great early set of four black "Standard" chairs, style 305 manufactured by Atelier Prouve in the 1950s. Molded plywood seats and backs, bent steel enameled frames. Original vintag...
Category

Vintage 1950s French Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel