In 2015, Galerie Patrick Seguin disassembled and restored Jean Prouvé's "Maxéville Design Office," a 10x12 meter demountable house, which until that point had only been assembled once since its conception in 1948. The building withstood a colorful history in an industrial site, and presents a rare early example of successful prefabrication. The concept -- and specifically, Prouvé's work -- has gained popularity again in recent years, and Galerie Patrick Seguin presented the historic office to the public again as part of Design Miami/ Basel 2016.
The building was originally designed in response to The Ministry of Reconstruction's New House Competition in 1947, which sought innovative prefabricated houses for the post-war market. Created as the prototype, the design never reached mass fabrication, and the structure was relocated to the Maxéville site. The building's axial frame allows quick and crude assembly by as little as three people. Inside, the building presents an open, fluid space, which holds possibilities of alteration and addition through a series of interchangeable partitions and standardized facing panels.
Once surrounded by highly active industrial buildings, the Design Office eventually became the last standing structure on the Maxéville site. Its position, opposite the now demolished office of Prouvé, allowed the designer to oversee the assembly of prototypes before their production. Later, the original facade was hidden beneath cladding, and the structure played host to a restaurant, a plumber's office, and in its twilight years, a swinger's club called Le Bounty.
It was from this original site that Galerie Patrick Seguin disassembled and removed the Design Office in 2015, adding the building to its world-leading collection of Prouvé's demountable houses. The DesignMiami/Basel and Art Basel Miami have become steady platforms for the Galerie's showcases, as they displayed another of Prouvre's Demountable Houses in 2015, and a presented a live assembly in 2014. Along with their physical collection, Galerie Patrick Seguin also publish a line of monographic books to accompany each exhibition.
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