Serge Mouille (1922-1988)

Native from a popular district of Paris, Serge Mouille enters at thirteen years old the ‘École des Arts Appliqués’ of ‘ rue Dupetit-Thouars’. He specialized in the work of metal and obtains a diploma of goldsmithery. He worked a few years in Gabriel Lacroix‘s workshop, and he sets up his own business in 1945, with the intention of creating table goldsmithery.

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From 1953, he begins his searches on metal forms and lights craft manufacturing, while insuring the direction of the goldsmithery workshop at the ‘École des arts appliqués’, from which he graduated. In 1955, he is elected at the ‘Société des artistes décorateurs (SAD)’. The year after, Steph Simon opens a design gallery on ‘boulevard Saint-Germain’. Under Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé’s influence, the gallery exhibit Serge Mouille’s works, such as Isamu Noguchi and Jean Luce’s works. Thus begans a discreet distribution of his lights. The Sinma company managed by Jacques and Jeanne Veyrat-Masson spreads his creations. Special orders are issued to him: dining halls and green spaces for the ‘Cité universitaire d’Antony’, and universities of Strasbourg and Aix-Marseille, for the ‘Centre d’essais en vol de Brétigny-sur-Orge’, and the lights of the ‘France’ transatlantic liner.

Having tuberculosis for a long time, Serge Mouille is forced to suspend his designer’s activities in 1959 and to go into treatment in the mountain. In 1961, thanks to the ‘Société de création des modèles’ (SCM), he can exhibit at the Salon des arts ménagers’, a new collection of lights combining fluorescence and incandescence. His production stops definitively in 1964.

Serge Mouille remains especially famous for his bare forms lights, in uniformly black painted metal. His wall reflectors, articulated on swivelling arms of diverse reaches, illustrate the space of a discreet but highly functional presence.