Serge Mansau is a famous French sculptor, who is very well known for designing several hundred perfume flasks. His outstanding artworks can be found in museums as well as in almost every women's cupboard because he created beautiful designer flasks for nearly every high fashion, luxury beauty and luxury perfume brand.
Born on June 18th 1930, in Paris, Serge spent a nomadic childhood, because his father worked as an aviation engineer, therefore the family moved quite often.
It is said, that Serge had no toys, not even a teddy bear – but as a creative and smart child, he designed his own toys. But he was also very talented in drawing and painting. Luckily his uncle discovered the boy's talent quite early and supported him. Serges's parents weren't much interested in their own child, because of struggling with everyday problems.
Multitalented Serge was not only interested in sculptures, paintings and drawings but also in acting. He loved visiting theatres, stage atmosphere and anything else, which belongs to this arty way of life.
When he came into adulthood, Serge decided to become a fulltime artist. His father was completely against Serge's dream because he wanted his son also becoming an aviation engineer.
Being quite lucky Serge got his dream job: designer for performances. So his first job combined perfectly all his passions. While working, he once met Marcel Marceau, the famous French mime artist, and became his student. In these days Serge learned a lot about form and gesture.
He also became a student of Charles Dullin, a famous actor, director and theatre manager.
Not surprisingly, Serge also worked as interior designer and decorator in the 50ies. In Paris, he especially decorated store windows and also worked together with Helena Rubinstein, the famous entrepreneur in beauty and a real pioneer in cosmetics. Once he criticised the design of an upcoming new perfume flask, Helena Rubinstein told him, he should design his perfect impression for this fragrance (named 'Skin Dew') – if he is convinced he could do better.
This competition was the beginning of a new era of product design, but especially for perfume brands all over the world.
In 1960 perfume 'Skin Dew' by Helena Rubinstein was released, and for sure it was bottled in Serge Mansau's design. The perfume became a bestseller and was much beloved – and so was Serge's design. Although he did not know yet which immense positive impact his artwork would have in the complete perfume business.
In the following decade, two of the most famous fragrances were Climat by Lancome and Fiji by Guy Laroche. Both fragrances' packaging is created by Serge Mansau. Their style is known as a symbol of perfect French Luxus. And this is exactly what Mansau's oeuvres are: each piece of art is perfect on its own way because it conveys art and style always in a unique way to present a perfumer's creation at its best.
He, who loved nature the most, included details like flowers to present perfumes – like Flower by Kenzo: A poppy blossom enclosed in a transparent glass flask, was a milestone in packaging design. Still today this flask is chic and pretty, completely pure and timeless. This example is just one among many for Serge Mansau's gift to create a signature product design.
Admiring and including natural design elements might cause that Mansau loved his edition for Kenzo's flowerful flasks the most. But Kenzo was not the only luxury brand which cooperated with him, there are so many famous names, that it's difficult to recount them all: Hermes, Guerlain, Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Estee Lauder, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier, Narcisco Rodriguez – and there are so many others.
Meanwhile working as a product designer, he still appreciated working as an artist and sculptor. For decades he spread his creativity and enjoyed his work life to the fullest. Goes without saying, his life was art. Mansau's works and artworks still bring so much style and joy to many peoples' lives because of all the outstanding creations he brought into existence.
In 2006 Serge Mansau's book 'Les formes du vide' (English: The shapes of emptiness) was published.
The title describes best his genius gift: To create something (beautiful) out of invisibility. It is true, this artist was able to see a counterplan of beauty and forms while this gift is mostly hidden for others.
Nobody knows where his sparkling creativity came from, maybe it was a gift and nourished by his monotonous surrounding during his childhood. However, it is clear, that the absence of toys even could not terminate his creativity. Serge Mansau had a universal gift of creating and spreading joyful, pretty designs by seeing the world through a child's eyes.
Besides exclusive collaborations with f.e. French manufacturer Daum, Mansau was honoured by the French government to be named 'Commander of the Arts and Literature' (French: Commandeur des Art et des Lettres) in 2010.
Known as an open-minded design genius and nature lover Serge Mansau always drew inspiration from mother earth. Maybe this caused his unstoppable creativity because nature and elements exist by themselves, they are not coming into questioning as anything but pure beauty – the same as Serge Mansau's unique aptitude.
Almost 89 years old, on February 19th 2019, Serge Mansau died in Paris.
For over half a century this extraordinary artist revolutionised several perfumer imperia and satisfied uncountable customers still keeping his free mind. Working into old age his vocation was obviously a fulfilled life, even better: a passionate way of creation.
To name only a few of Mansau's flask designs and clients:
24 Faubourg Hermès, Amarige Givenchy, Ange ou Démon Givenchy, 1881 Pour Homme Cerruti, Déclaration Cartier, Diorella Christian Dior, Dolce Vita Christian Dior, Eau des Merveilles Hermès, Flower by Kenzo Kenzo, Incanto Salvatore Ferragamo, Insolence Guerlain, La Petite Robe Noire Guerlain, For Her Narciso Rodriguez, Organza Givenchy, Pi Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli by Roberto Cavalli.
Giorgio Armani, Cartier, Roberto Cavalli, Cerruti, Catherine Deneuve, Christian Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gianfranco Ferre, Givenchy, Guerlain, Hermes, Kenzo, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Lubin Paris, Jean Patou, Rochas, Narciso Rodriguez and many more.