Jean Prouvé knew the qualities of metal intimately. If he used aluminium in architecture for its resistance, its indestructibility, its lightness and its ease of mounting and mass production, he adopted galvanized steel, folded and pressed, for the production of his furniture. Many models combining wood and galvanized steel are representative of the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs: the furniture designed for the Antony university housing scheme, chairs called Standards, desk chairs, and tables and desks, Compas. Characteristic of Prouvé’s style but rare in the world of furniture, the form of the Compas base, when has been compared to a dancer’s step corresponds to an evolution in manufacturing for mass production.
Beyond being light and elegant, the Compas leg system is mounted on different types of furniture. This series for which comfort and functionality were essential, stood out for its real capacity of adaptability. And Musée des Arts Décoratifs made contact with Steph Simon, a Parisian gallery owner and dealer, publisher and exclusive distributor of the furniture of Jean Prouvé from 1947 to enrich its design collection in 1966 and in 1968 with the curved Direction desk and the two Compas desks, created in 1953 and produced in 1956.