Patrick Seguin restores
Jean Prouvé’s Maison des Jours Meilleurs
After a particularly harsh winter in Paris in 1954, during which homeless people were dying in the streets, Abbé Pierre, France’s equivalent of Mother Teresa, made an appeal for donations to build emergency housing and turned to architect Jean Prouvé for a solution. Prouvé designed the Maison des Jours Meilleurs – measuring 57 square metres and incorporating two bedrooms and a large living area – which could be assembled by a few men in seven house with just a few simple tools. Despite plaudits from Le Corbusier, who called it ‘the handsomest house I know: the most perfect object for living in, the most sparkling thing ever constructed’, only five of the houses were ever built.
Three years ago, art dealer Patrick Seguin saw that a Maison des Jours Meilleurs was going up for auction in Nancy, Prouvé’s birthplace, and he snapped it up, believing it to be the last one still in existence. He has meticulously restored the house and rebuilt it in his Paris gallery, where it is on show until 29 September. Here an animation by the gallery, incorporating, incorporating archival photographs and computer graphics, shows how the structure is put together.