“Never design anything that cannot be made,” was the principle guideline of Jean Prouv? (1901-1984), the French designer whose work is having its first U.S. museum exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art from August 14-November 27. Prouv? was originally a metalworker who went on to be a pioneer in prefab housing beginning in the 1950s. The MOCA exhibit will highlight three of Prouv??s prefab buildings through the photography of Lucien Herv?: the Glassmaking School in Croismare and the Aluminum Centenary Pavilion, both in France; and the Tropical House, originally in Africa.

The Tropical House (pictured above), which was first constructed in Brazzaville, Congo, in 1951, and restored in France in 1999, will be installed from October 4-November 27 in the courtyard of the Hammer Museum at UCLA. The house was built with lightweight steel and aluminum, in accord with Prouv??s commitment to utilizing advanced technology to create simple, light designs that could be mass-produced and shipped to French colonies in Africa, where they could be easily assembled.

In addition to the Nomadic Structures, the MOCA exhibit will include furniture and elements of Prouve’s modular architectural works. Though lesser known than other architects and designers of the 20th century, Prouve’s forward-thinking work is highly relevant to today’s booming field of design, in which the greatest task of technology is to create something simple, accessible and flexible.

Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
Hammer Museum