Jean Prouve opened his own smithy in Nancy, France, in 1923, and shortly thereafter produced his first pieces of furniture, made from thin sheet steel. Right away, Prouve's sparse, geometric aesthetic appealed to avant-garde architects such as Robert Mallet-Stevens and Le Corbusier, who commissioned ironwork from him. In 1929 they invited Prouve to join the new Union des Artistes Modernes, a group of artists and designers championing the Modern Movement. Besides creating furniture, Prouve also explored designs for pre-fabricated housing, constructing dwellings for the homeless. But by the 1960s, his austere style seemed passe and he fell foul of fashion's whims; as a self-taught designer he was also routinely excluded by the architectural establishment. His reputation may have further suffered from his own appetite for collaboration, which could make his exact role in architectural projects difficult to identify. Happily, this state of affairs changed in the 1990s when Prouve re-emerged, as his sensibility chimed again with the activities of contemporary industrial designers like Jasper Morrison and Konstantin Grcic.