Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vladimir Kagan’s New York Apartment from NYSD.. Photographs by Jeff Hirsch.

By Sian Ballen & Lesley Hauge
Photographs by Jeff Hirsch

You’ve seen Vladimir Kagan’s furniture even if you didn’t know that he designed it because it’s been knocked off by just about everyone. “I’m not flattered,” he says. He was such good company! Perhaps one of the most significant furniture designers of our time, he is best known for his sinuous sculpting of wood, his sectional furniture—the first sectional furniture—as well as the wonderful curved and much-copied “Serpentine” sofa. His furniture is the very best of mid-century modern, but he’s not following the trend. He created it. 
Click to order Vladimir Kagan: A Lifetime of Avant-Garde Design.
As an 11-year-old boy, he came to the US from Germany together with his family who were escaping Nazi power. He went on to study sculpture and began working with his father, a Russian cabinetmaker before setting out to become a designer in his own right. As with most successful careers, he suffered plenty of setbacks and in the ornate 1980s, his sleek furniture fell out of favor … it’s not out of favor now. As it became clear that his furniture was beautifully suited to the uncluttered modern aesthetic, he was championed by architects and designers including, Zaha Hadidand Tom Ford, both of whom have contributed to his new book, Vladimir Kagan: A Lifetime of Avant-Garde Design (Pointed Leaf Press).