Fauteuil Léger no. 356, a.k.a. Antony chair, 1955
This new “relaxation chair” was designed as part of major programs for furniture for student accommodations, and in particular for the Cité Universitaire in Antony, near Paris.1 Early in 1955 Jean Prouvé designed a “light easy chair” more economical than the Conférence no. 355 model, originally designed with this market in mind. The metal frame returned to the structural principle of the Maternelle or Compas pieces: a large-diameter tubular brace to which are welded tubular legs and sheet-metal support brackets profiled to follow the curve of the plywood seat, to which they are attached with metal tabs. Provisionally called the “seagull chair”—given the shape of its thermoformed beech-ply seat2—this model was put into production by the Ateliers Jean Prouvé after they won the competition to furnish 150 rooms in the Cité Universitaire in Antony. While referenced as no. 356, on the price lists issued by Steph Simon, who marketed and later made it. This chair was as well suited to public use—offices, waiting rooms, restrooms, universities—as to the domestic context. For greater comfort, it could be covered with cushioned leatherette. While certain uses never got beyond the planning stage—grouped seats for the synagogue in Strasbourg and the Buvette in Évian—the principle of a light frame was applied to an upholstered banquette for 3–9 persons, designed for the public areas of the Cité Universitaire in Antony (1955–1957).
1. The second competition for the furnishing of dormitory rooms at the Cité Universitaire in Antony, launched in the beginning of 1955, imposed the condition that the teams be composed of designers and editors of furniture. The Ateliers Jean Prouvé united de facto the names of Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand and of their colleagues André Le Stang and Martha Villiger. Following a pre-selection process, the team won the task of furnishing 150 rooms for bachelors.
2. Also described as a “thin layer of molded plywood”.