The French gallerist and dealer Patrick Seguin started collecting examples of Jean Prouvé’s ‘demountable’ housing in 1991, and since then has built up a large collection of these remarkable structures. Prouvé developed and patented the idea of his prefabricated house in the late 1930s, but it didn’t go into production until the end of the Second World War, when the French government commissioned 800 units to provide temporary shelter for those who had been left homeless by bombing. In the event only around 400 were made, most of which were subsequently destroyed or abandoned as the state constructed permanent homes.
The room, located in the French countryside, will be available to a select few, by invitation only
Seguin has rescued many of these rusting shells, built without insulation or bathrooms, and in 2015 he commissioned Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to make one of the original houses liveable, by adding electricity, hot water, a kitchen and a bathroom. Initially on show in the Renzo Piano-designed pavilion at the Château la Coste in Provence, the Prouvé/Rogers building has now been added as an extra suite for the hotel itself, and a select group of art collectors, artists and architects will be invited to enjoy the experience of staying in an original Prouvé house.
The interior of Room 30, as it will be known, has been kitted out with art and design objets from Seguin’s personal collection, while for those not lucky enough to be invited to stay, the Piano pavilion will host a parallel exhibition of Prouvé’s furniture, as well as associated art such as a Calder sculpture and a Léger watercolour that were formerly owned by Prouvé himself. Saving a design icon from undeserved obscurity, Seguin and Chateau La Coste offer a truly unprecedented opportunity to spend time in a uniquely designed and significant piece of architecture; a chance for the visitor to appreciate its design value as well as the structure’s beginning and long history.