Table with central base, 1929
The first table Jean Prouvé designed was part of the dining room set created for the industrialist Louis Wittmann in 1929. The central-base design, which maximizes the usable space beneath the tabletop, points to the concern with user comfort, as seen with the adjustable chair backs. The elegantly solid structure comprises a central tubing base reinforced with bent steel sections; set on it was the “fishbone” framework of the top, covered with stretched rubber, a technique used in aeronautics. The metal parts were
nickel-plated, as were those of the chairs.The same principle was soon applied to other tables, with variations in respect of the material and mounting of the base, the size and material of the top, and the finish. The idea of the single, bent-sheet base was reused on different scales for the large, lit, glass-topped table for the Banque d’Alsace-Lorraine, Nancy, and in the plan for a small sanatorium table with a bent steel frame and a wooden top, proposed as a variant of the Cité table.