Marcoule bench, 1955
This public sector bench is typical of the method consisting in adapting an existing element to a new object. In 1954 the Ateliers Jean Prouvé replied to a competition for equipping buildings at the Marcoule nuclear studies center. For the dining rooms, they proposed a specially created model whose base was an exact replica of that of the Cafétéria no. 512 table—of which a number were also supplied. The bent steel legs, however, were simply cut off at the base, resulting in a total loss of their original elegance. Brackets identical to those used for the table held a solid oak seat, with tubing welded to the brace to support the backrest. This model was made in 1955, in two variants: single or double, with or without a backboard serving as a small table two place personal belonging. The same principle was used for the more comfortable upholstered seats, notable for the furnishing of the Centre de réadaptation fonctionnelle in Nancy1 (Post-trauma Rehabilitation Center) two years later. These items illustrate the last period of furniture production at the Maxéville workshops, and notably the (questionable) use of earlier models.2
1. Centre Régional de Sécurité Sociale (Regional Social Security Center), (architects R. Lamoise and R. Malot, 1955–1958).
2. The cushioned model of the bench proposed in 1955–1956 for the common space of the Cité Universitaire in Antony design a variation of the structure of the fauteuil léger no. 356, a.k.a. “Antony chair”, conceived for the students’ dorm rooms. The design of the metal structure, elaborated out of Jean Prouvé’s control, is more angular and less harmonious than that of the chair. The elegant seat of “plywood sail is replaced by cushions in imitation leather.