Cité bed, 1930
Called the Cité bed after the War, this daybed is the most iconic model of its type to emerge from the Ateliers Jean Prouvé. It was designed for the tender for the student dormitory at the Cité Universitaire in Nancy in 1930, for which the brief specified the need for a bedside table. Prouvé opted for incorporating the table by using a sheet metal frame comprising two side members between the open-box bent steel panels that held the wooden shelves. Larger than the one on the foot panel and extending beyond the headboard, the bedside table was fitted with a drawer and an intermediate shelf. Apart from a handful of simple variants, this asymmetrical arrangement remained unchanged until production was terminated in 1953. After 60 examples had been made for the Cité Universitaire in Nancy, the model went back to the drawing board and was marketed around 1935 as no. 10. The most notable improvement had to do with the side members, which were given a distinctive closed-triangle profile as a means of increasing the rigidity of the frame. This allowed reduction of its height to 15 centimeters. Oak tips protected and raised the metal legs, and the drawer handle was aluminum (Duralumin). At the same period, a number of modifications of the same principle were looked at. One of them used panels fitted with symmetrical shelves of the same length, with the widest able to house one or two drawers and provide a makeshift desk. Called no. 102, this model was used—with some variants: drawers, shelves—for several dormitories at the Lycée Fabert in Metz. Put back into production for use in the home after the War, the asymmetrical Cité bed (LC 11 and LC 12) was available from 1949 on in two widths—80 and 90 cm—that could be set side by side. The following year saw the arrival of the double bed version (LC 22), whose slotted headboard had a drawer on each side. Several changes of detail were effected in the early 1950s, notably in respect of the side members: their section was modified and their height reduced to 8 or 9 centimeters, and rigidity was boosted with a curved crosspiece. Some 200 examples of the Cité bed were made in 1951 and it remained the commonest model in its different versions1 until 1953. It was then replaced by the SCAL bed, made more cheaply with wood panels and tube legs.
1. This bed has different appellations depending on its width: no. 454, then no. 455 (80 cm), no. 457 (140 cm) and no. 461 (120 cm).