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 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). He worked to achieve a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that evoked a sense of movement in space. He also claimed his lighting fixtures were “a reaction to the Italian models, which were beginning to invade the market in 1950,” and which he thought to be “too complicated.” His designs from this period were shown mainly at the Steph Simon Gallery in Paris.
In 1955 he became a member of the Society of Decorative Artists and of the French National Art Society. In the same year he was awarded the Charles Plumet prize for his work and in 1958 he received a Diploma of Honor at the Brussels Expo. Mouille began, towards the end of the decade, to design some institutional lighting and he was responsible, over the next several years, for designing the lighting at the University in Antony, for schools in Strasbourg and Marseilles and for the Bizerte Cathedral. Also 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, and are some of his better known later works.
Mouille established the SCM (Société de Création de Modèles) in 1961 as a way to encourage young and emerging lighting designers. He worked and taught for the rest of his life, showing his lighting and jewelry at several exhibitions. For his career as a metal smith and designer he was awarded a medal from the City of Paris from the Directors of Professional Artists. ~HG.
Serge Mouille: a French classic / un classique Français, Pierre Emile Pralus, Editions Du Mont Thou, France, 2006