Serge Mouille Totem Lamps
French industrial designer Serge Mouille began developing lighting systems in the 1950s at the request of fellow furniture designer Jacques Adnet. In reaction to the complex materiality and configuration of Italian lighting designs of the 1940s, Mouille sought to create a style uniquely his own.
Mouille’s first lighting model was an aluminum floor lamp released in 1953 that consisted of three sockets engineered for maximum brightness. The far-back placement of the bulb in the painted black aluminum reflector created an organic nipple-shaped form that quickly became Mouille’s signature.
It wasn’t until 1961 when Serge Mouille launched his ‘Colonnes’ (Columns) collection that his style drastically evolved. The ‘Colonnes’ designs were not sporadic and wiry, but rather stood tall like a totem, with a single fluorescent tube running up the center of the self-standing structure; a novel and unexplored material for the early 1960s. The metal sleeves of each piece were designed with varying patters and perforations to segment and divide the bright shinning light. The lamps were first presented in 1962 as a cluster of forms at the Salon des Arts Ménagers. Mouille designed the cylindrical structures of varying heights and perforations to be shown as a group and thus emulate the rigid geometry and variety seen of a city’s skyline.