Vitra presents Fauteuil Kangourou by Jean Prouvé, 1948

Today, the understated technical creations by French designer Jean Prouvé (1901–1984) are cherished classics. However, only a few of his Fauteuil Kangourou from 1948 now remain in circulation. Vitra is relaunching the chair in summer 2022 in a limited edition of 150 units.

The fact that Jean Prouvé named the armchair ‘Kangourou’ reveals his fine sense of humour. Like its namesake, the seat carries its weight on its hind legs, which makes it particularly comfortable. The aesthetic design of the wooden side profiles reflects their static construction: they are widest where the greatest stress is exerted.

Vitra’s new release of the armchair combines natural oak with metal legs, with a seat cover made of a softly woven bouclé fabric. Prouvé developed a palette of colours for both his furniture and his architectural projects. He also customised colours for special clients including the expressive Prouvé Bleu Marcoule of the new limited edition of Fauteuil Kangourou. The blue colour was developed in the 1950s.

The new edition of Fauteuil Kangourou was created in close cooperation with the French designer’s daughter, Catherine Prouvé, who cultivates her father’s creative legacy and continues the story in the same spirit. Vitra has enjoyed a close personal collaboration with her for over 20 years. Fauteuil Kangourou occupies a special place in Prouvé’s collection, not only because of its characteristic shape, but also because of the use of oak wood, a material that Prouvé greatly appreciated, but for which he is far less known than for his talented work with metal.

‘The wooden armchair has a warm appeal, without losing the distinctive design language that characterises many of Prouvé’s designs,’ says Christian Grosen, Chief Design Officer of Vitra.

The French designer, architect and entrepreneur saw furniture design primarily as an engineering task. The aesthetics of his oeuvre often resulted from the practicality of the object and its economy of materials – Prouvé thereby developed his very own design signature with a high recognition value. Despite his reputation as a pioneer of industrial production methods and his fascination with the serial production of furniture, Prouvé responded to the individual requirements and needs of the respective social circumstances, settings and clients.

Like many of Prouvé’s designs, the Fauteuil Kangourou, originally developed for public areas, was mainly used in private homes.

When defining the individual details of the new edition, Vitra looked to a historical version of the armchair from the holdings of the Vitra Design Museum, which has the most extensive museum’s collection of Jean Prouvé furniture and objects. The first specimen of the Prouvé collection – an Antony chair – was acquired by Vitra’s Chairman Emeritus Rolf Fehlbaum in the 1980s.

The Fauteuil Kangourou is limited to 150 pieces. It will be available on the Vitra Campus and from the Vitra online shop as of 15 June 2022 to mark the inauguration of ‘Place Jean Prouvé’ on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein.

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