René Prou (1889 – 1947) was a French decorator and furniture designer.
From 1908 to 1908, he studied at the École Bernard Palissy in Paris.
In 1908, he developed his first piece for the Gouffé furniture company in Paris. He later rose to the position of chief designer. He designed the council chamber of the Comptoir d’Escompte in Paris and the apartment of the French ambassador in Paraguay in 1912, earning him the title of “first designer of the goût moderne.”
His work became more minimalistic after 1929, avoiding embellishment. In c1930, he began creating wrought-iron furniture for Edgar Brandt, Raymond Subes, and other metalworkers in his factory at 80 rue de Rome in Paris.
He was awarded several significant commissions. For Pleyel, he designed a piano. Henri Lévy produced some of his furniture. He created the dining rooms on the ocean liner De Grasse and the interiors of other ocean liners such as the Paris, 1926 Ile-de-France, 1931 L’Atlantique, and 1935 Normandie. He also designed interiors for a dozen more ocean liners, including the Champlain, La Fayette, Cuba, and the Florida. He also designed the interiors of railway cars, including the Train Bleu, Paris-Deauville, and 500 Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits cars in 1929; the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York; the League of Nations board room in Geneva; the Mitsubishi department store in Tokyo; and the oceanliner pier at Le Havre.
He operated in his own offices and boutique at 50 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris with his brother Jean-René Prou beginning in 1937. In 1928, he took over the Pomone decorating department of the Au Bon Marché department store in Paris. He worked alongside Albert-Lucien Guénot on occasion.
He became the director of Pomone in 1932, the company that created his limited-edition dining room and bedroom furniture. He continued to paint and teach at several schools, including the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs, for a short time.
Prou designed the boudoir, the “chambre de Mademoiselle” of “Une Ambassade Française,” in the pavillion of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs, for the 1925 Paris “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.”
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL
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