I first fell in love with Vladimir Kagan’s furniture long before I decided to become a design historian. I was 25 and living in New York, when I was invited to a dinner party at a house overlooking the Long Island Sound; the living room was fully furnished with pieces designed and made by Kagan-Dreyfuss, the company he founded with textile designer Hugo Dreyfuss in 1950. While at the time the name Kagan was not familiar to me, it was clear, I remember, that his sculptural, distinctive, powerful pieces had the potential to transform spaces, to make you feel differently. They took my breath away. I have never fell out of love with Vladimir Kagan’s designs, but have since recognized that they have become an integral part of the canon of American design. The revised edition of his book A Lifetime of Avant-Garde Design was published last month by Point Leaf Press with a preface by Tom Ford, who suggests that Kagan’s pieces are both connected to their time and timeless. Vladimir Kagan’s designs do exactly what design is supposed to do, to make you think differently, to make you feel and connected. Last evening and for the occasion of the publication, I was honored to spend an entire evening with Kagan at the stunning atelier of interior designer Amy Lau in Chelsea; the collaboration between the two has brought to some extraordinarily poetic interior spaces, regularly featured in the world’s leading design magazines. Today, Kagan is an influential design legend. But last evening, I learnt that he is also as charismatic as a rock star, as personable as a family member, and a fascinating speaker. It was hard to say good-bye.
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