Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Serge Mouille

After much gentle persuasion, I have had two clients elect to use lights designed by Serge Mouille (1922-1988).
Known primarily for his work as a designer of lighting fixtures, he started his career as a master silversmith and was awarded a diploma from the School of Applied Arts in Paris. He studied with silversmith and sculptor Gabriel LaCroix.
In 1945 Mouille himself became a teacher at the School of Applied Arts and opened his own metalworking studio. At that point his design commissions were mostly for hand rails, chandeliers and wall sconces.
In 1953 Jacques Adnet hired him to design lighting fixtures, an art to which he devoted the rest of his life. Throughout the 1950s Mouille designed large, angular, insect-like wall mounted and standing lamps with several arms and smaller, more curved wall-sconces. Some of his best known designs from the period are his "Oeil" lamp (1953), "Flammes" (1954) and "Saturn" (1958). 1953 saw the birth of the standing lamp with 3 arms ending with the aluminum "nipple" shaped shades, which maximized the bulbs reflective qualities. This concept was often copied in mass-market designs of the late 1950s. Mouille made each of his lamps by hand, and never used machine technology to maximize production numbers. He worked to achieve a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that evoked a sense of movement in space. Later in life he designed some institutional lighting and he was responsible for designing the lighting at the University in Antony, for schools in Strasbourg and Marseilles and for the Bizerte Cathedral.
From 1962 to 1964, Mouille created and produced a final line of lamps, called "colonnes" (columns). An attempt to sell them through Knoll International did not meet with success because of the opposition of Florence Knoll. An enthusiastic researcher of materials, he refused to move into industrial production and, from 1964, interrupted his work to dedicate himself to teaching at the School of Applied Arts in Paris.


Patricia Gray said...

Very interesting to see the origial design of this lamp by Mouille which has been knocked off so much. What a shame for the original artist. Glad you are honoring him. I guess the saying:
"Copying is the highest form of flattery" must surely go to Mouille. Thanks for the information on him and what good clients you have for listening to you and buying his work. Well done!

katiedid said...

I think we may have some kinda weird connection. Check out my post from tonight. Very weird. I think I am going to link your post to mine for those that are wanting more in depth information.
What are the odds?

Guéridon Mid Century Modern said...

Thanks for the link! Let us know if you want any photos.


HOBAC said...

Thanks Gueridon. Having dealt with you in the past I have no hesitation in recommending your company.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Iconic, indeed. Pure genius.

Suzy said...

I finally had some time to look through some of your old posts, and I'm so glad I did. Have only just recently discovered the work of Mouille and am quite enamoured. Thanks for the background info!