Jean Prouvé created the first version of the Potence wall lamp in the 1940s for his own home in Nancy: a simple light bulb affixed to a long, pivoting steel bar, which is held by a steel wire. This functionalist, puristic design was soon produced in various sizes, with an added handle on larger models to facilitate the swivel movement. Petite Potence has similar proportions to the larger model Potence, while its compact dimensions are ideally suited to smaller interiors. The swing arm is 103 cm long, with a powder-coated finish in colours derived from the original hues used by Prouvé. The cable is sheathed in a high-quality textile casing, and the LED bulb is dimmable. Thanks to its reductive aesthetic, Petite Potence is an ideal lighting choice for a wide variety of settings, from dining and living rooms to offices or cafés.
Jean Prouvé completed his training as a metal artisan before opening his own workshop in Nancy in 1924. In the following years he created numerous furniture designs, and in 1947 Prouvé established his own factory. Due to disagreements with the majority shareholders, he left the company in 1953. During the ensuing decades, Prouvé served as a consulting engineer on a number of important architectural projects in Paris. He left his mark on architectural history again in 1971, when he played a major role in selecting the design of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers for the Centre Pompidou as chairman of the competition jury. Prouvé's work encompasses a wide range of objects, from a letter opener to door and window fittings, from lighting and furniture to façade elements and prefabricated houses, from modular building systems to large exhibition structures – essentially, almost anything that is suited to industrial production methods. In close cooperation with the Prouvé family, Vitra began in 2002 to issue re-editions of designs by this great French constructeur.