ave you seen those elegant black or white insect-like light fixtures by Serge Mouille? I got intrigued after seeing them appear in numerous interior blogs and did some research. These lamps, which are the epitome of mid-century lighting design, were first launched in Paris in 1953. Serge Mouille’s lighting collection fast became the lighting choice for collectors and avant-garde architects worldwide.
Each considered a piece of art, the Serge Mouille lights have never gone into large production, each piece is still made completely by hand with the original tools designed by Mouille himself – Absolute Perfection!!
Known primarily for his work as a designer of lighting fixtures, Serge Mouille (1922-1988) received a master silversmith diploma from the School of Applied Arts in Paris. He studied with silversmith and sculptor Gilbert LaCroix and, after graduation in 1941, went to work in his studio.
In 1945 Mouille opened his own metal working studio with the intention of creating silverware utensils. At that point, however, 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.
Serge Mouille remains famous primarily for his minimalistic designs and use of uniformly black painted metal materials. His wall-mounted spot light fixture with articulated arms (the “Spider”) is typical for his discrete, yet highly functional designs.
Throughout the 1950s Mouille designed those 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). 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. A Serge Mouille lamp is as much a work of art as it is a source of illumination.
Towards the end of the 1950s the invention of neon tubes inspired Mouille to create a series of floor lamps that combined incandescence and fluorescence. These designs, called the “Colonnes” collection, had their debut at the 1962 Salon for interior design.
Mouille suffered from tuberculosis for many years, and in 1959 he was forced to suspend his design activities and undergo treatment. Production of his light fixtures stopped definitively in 1961. In the 1980’s, due to a renewed interest in the rarity of Mouille’s lighting, his spouse Gin Mouille decided to introduce a new edition originally designed in the early 1950’s. The original precision craftsmanship is applied to this edition to maintain the integrity of the early work. Each shade is produced with the use of original moulds, proportions, materials and techniques. Each piece is stamped and numbered. Only 1000 pieces are produced each year and are exported all over the world, which make them not only objects of beauty but collector items as well.
Here’s a little overview of Mouille’s light fixtures still in action today, I’m interested to hear what you think of them.
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