Serge Mouille Editions® is not only famous for its lighting designs with refined black conical and spherical shapes, but also for its avant-garde series named Les Colonnes. Its modern luminaires are nourished by the French savoir-faire, anchored in our heritage, and still manufactured traditionally with respect for its creator. Signatures Singulières Magazine brings their stories to you.
Above: pivoting three-arm black steel lamp. Serge Mouille Editions®. Maison Hand project. ©Félix Forest.
Serge Mouille’s Formes Noires translated as “Black Shapes” are recognizable amongst a thousand and come from his first collection. Created in 1952 for Jacques Adnet, architect and decorator, whose wish was a big lamp to light the hacienda of South American clients, this collection was a great turning point in his life. As a matter of fact, Serge Mouille was not “destined” to become a designer. Trained as a goldsmith, appointed professor at the age of 24 at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués in Paris, he held this position all his life until 1988. While investing himself in teaching and research, he constantly tried to transcend the limits of his favorite material: metal. A talented draftsman and an expert in the field, he was indeed the man for the job. Moreover, Jacques Adnet, by giving carte blanche to Serge Mouille’s creativity, launched the creation of a masterpiece. After a few months of trial and error, the legendary pivoting three-arm lamp came to life. This was the beginning of his famous collection: Les Formes Noires.
Legend has it that the female breast was Serge Mouille’s inspiration to create Les Formes Noires, due to his meticulous erotic biro drawings. In reality, the fauna and flora were his sources of inspiration. Since his childhood, he excelled in the art of drawing. He collected butterflies as well as seashells and accurately reproduced the animals he observed in the garden. The talented draftsman Serge Mouille also finds inspiration in Italian designers to create.
After the rotating three-arm lamp, a simpler version was made to fit in small Parisian flats. Thereafter, other luminaires came to life with conical shapes such as the “tripod”, “cocotte”, “hats and caps” and “mussel shell” lamps, in addition to the sphere-shaped lamps “saturn”, “ flame” and “eye”. Finally, the “cocotte” lamp takes root in an ogive shape. With very simple shapes, the floor, desk and ceiling lamps as well as sconces, that make up the Formes Noires collection, are enhanced by a brass ball joint that adds a refined touch to the object. Moreover, the white satin version of these luminaires, made upon Jacques Adnet’s request, also offers a similar and elegant contrast.
Ten years after Les Formes Noires, Serge Mouille innovated with an avant-garde collection, although less known but successful, called Les Colonnes. With the spread of fluorescent tubes in 1962, he decided to draw on this light source to create new luminaires. On the one hand, models imagined as totems – which inspired their name – dressed in a powerful and rhythmic spiral, and on the other, a more radical series called “Signal”, with a brushed and anodized aluminium body and a futuristic look. Called skyscrapers by the Anglo-Saxons, these luminaires continue to seduce. As a matter of fact, a unique example of a “Skyscraper” column was sold at Artcurial for more than €190,000 in October 2016. More than a collection, the Columns rather mark a period in Serge Mouille’s work. The designer had imagined many models; however, today, Serge Mouille Editions® reissued only the “Totem” and “Signal” columns. Thus, these timeless models – all numbered and delivered with a certificate of authenticity – are the result of French craftsmanship, whose history will remain forever engraved.
List of outlets available on the website: www.serge-mouille.com