Serge Mouangue : Twenty things you should know about Serge Mouangue...
Serge Mouangue
Twenty things you should know about Serge Mouangue...
Zanoah Bia, October 6, 2008

The African Samouraï

J’ai effectivement conscience d’être un designer un peu particulier du fait que j’aborde l’architecture, l’automobile et la mode en même temps. Mais c’est plus fort que moi, il me faut toujours questionner mon environnement direct par l’observation. Faire silence et observer. C’est l’être humain dans son contexte qui m'émeut et me questionne avant tout. Que faisons nous ici ou là, et quelle valeur donnons-nous à ce qui nous entoure? Qui sommes nous ? Quel est le sens de l’identité culturelle,  en ce qui concerne les kimonos Wafrica par exemple?


Born in Yaounde, Cameroon in 1973, Serge Mouangue: Interior Designer, Industrial Designer and Artist, immigrated to Paris, France at six years of age. Strong love for his country, its culture, music and the ties of family, are a major influence in is work and way of thinking. Serge Mouangue studied Applied Art, Interior Design and Industrial Design at l’ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris in 1999, France. During his studies, his deep interest in other cultures compelled him to travel to broadly, taking him beyond the surrounding European countries to Australia, USA, China, Turkey and Mexico. On the completion of his studies, he lived in Australia with his wife and young family, where he worked (also with the great architect Glenn Murcutt) as an Artist and Free-lance as an Industrial Designer for Blue Sky Design and Anibou, providing him with opportunities to exhibit his Watercolour painting and broaden his design experience.

Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


He then returned to France to take up a job offer with Renault Motor Company in car design. An opportunity to take courses in Japanese language and culture presented whilst Serge was in France and quickly became a fascination. Nissan Motor Company offered the possibility to experience life in Japan firsthand and through this, a love of and interest in Japanese culture has continued to grow. Parallels between the deep-rooted traditions of his homeland and those of Japan became evident. Life in Tokyo: at once modern whilst maintaining a respect for ancient custom provided the inspiration for this project Wafrica - Kimonos designed in Africa fabrics and weared by Africans models - , which has been driven by the enthusiasm and interaction with other Artists living and working in Tokyo.

Serge Mouangue/NUVU Nissan_Ballseat.
Serge Mouangue/NUVU Nissan_Ballseat.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


erge Mouangue/Nuvu Nissan_profil.
erge Mouangue/Nuvu Nissan_profil.


E.D.: Who is Serge Mouangue?

Serge Mouangue: I am a designer, born in Cameroon, studied in Paris, living and working in Tokyo.

E.D.: Tell us more about NuVu, Wafrica and your last projects/works

SM: NuVu is a concept car, designed for Nissan and showcased in (October) the 2008 Paris Motorshow. It’s an eco friendly vision for the future of urban transportation. Wafrica is a more personal experience, exploring issues of cultural identity, transforming timeless icons and values. I have been involved in a diverse way in the design industry, I feel it has been leading me in a new direction.

Serge Mouangue/NUVU Nissan_Zenithale
Serge Mouangue/NUVU Nissan_Zenithale


E.D.: Is there a philosophy behind your work, project?

SM: “Listen more”...

E.D.: What do you consider your influences, what inspires you?


SM: Space, sound, stories, people’s stories.


Serge Mouangue/NUVU by Serge Mouangue_interieur_Nissan
Serge Mouangue/NUVU by Serge Mouangue_interieur_Nissan


E.D.: How would you explain design?

SM: Design is about accessing  limitless solutions, offering something that is new and yet strikes a chord, it’s about hope!


Serge Mouangue/Nissan NUVU_interieur by Serge Mouangue
Serge Mouangue/Nissan NUVU_interieur by Serge Mouangue


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: Your favourite materials in design, fabrics and why?

SM: Wood for it’s warmth, flexibility, odour and texture.

E.D.: What means for you the word ecology, in Japan and Africa?

SM: I don’t understand the question… I mean Ecology "lightness" in Japan and "survival" in Africa.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: And chic in design, what do you feel it is?

SM:
Chic is not something I particularly aim for.
    
E.D.: Which artist / architect / designer do you admire most?

SM:
There are so many people whose work is an inspiration to me. Name one? Renzo Piano.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: What are currently your favourite objects?

SM:
My passport.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: Which country, city resembles you the most and why?

SM: Travelling provides inspiration and simply so much pleasure for me. When I arrive in a new country or city I am so absorbed by it. I feel at home everywhere and happy and I always feel I take something away with me. Hopefully in order to create something to give back.

E.D.: Your dream project ?

SM:
Space for soul in Japan.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: What is your favourite example of the use of sustainable material  in design?

SM: Bamboo scaffolding in Asia. Amazing!

E.D.: What object/car would you never design and why?

SM: A gun. Why would anyone design a gun?


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: What is your favourite building?

SM: Richard Le Plastrier’s home in Church Point in Australia.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: What do you hope your current work (industrial design and fashion) will bring to people?

SM:
Hope.

E.D.: What invention would best improve your life?

SM: A twenty-eight hour clock.


Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou
Serge Mouangue_Wafrica_Afro Kimono_Yuji Zendou


E.D.: Can you describe an evolution in your work from your first projects to the present day?

SM: My work is warmer and more precise. I think I am getting closer to an authentic expression of my ideas.

E.D.: What couldn’t you live without?

SM:
My family.


Serge Mouangue
Serge Mouangue


E.D.: Finally, which 21th-century architects/designers would you invite to a dream dinner?

SM: Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Glenn Murcutt, Richard Le Plastrier, Zaha Hadid and especially my friend Sacha from Aspect in Redfern Sydney.

www.wafrica.jp