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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Serge Mouille

Serge Mouille (1922-1988) was born in Paris to a policeman and a seamstress. They were disappointed when he decided, at age 13, to enter the School of Applied Arts silver workshop. He was such a gifted student of metallurgy and silversmithing that began teaching at age 25. After receiving his degree, he apprenticed under Gabriel Lacroix and then started his own workshop.

In 1953 Mouille introduced a lighting design, the iconic Three-Arm Floor Lamp. The design was the result of his expertise with metals, as well as his knowledge of musculature and skeletons, making the lamp both minimal and organic in form.

In 1956, gallery owner Steph Simon began showing Mouille's work alongside pieces by Charlotte Perriand, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Prouvé. Having learned of Mouille's work, Hollywood star Henry Fonda literally turned up on the designer's doorstep and refused to leave unless he could have a lamp. Even though the designer did not know who Mr. Fonda was, he relented, and the actor then owned the first Mouille lamp to hit U.S. shores.

In 1962, Mouille introduced his Colonnes Collection, columns of fluorescent light which were not well received. In fact, a potential partnership with Knoll fell through as a result of Florence Knoll's opposition to the design, and Mouille stopped designing lights, returning the the School of Applied Arts to teach silversmithing and to design jewelry.

All images from

Three-Arm Floor Lamp

Three-Arm Ceiling Lamp

Curved-Arm Rotating Sconce

Saturn Sconce

Snail Ceiling Lamp

Signal Floor Lamp

Totem Floor Lamp

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