Vladimir Kagan, 1927-2016

He has been a pillar of the NYC design world for so long, that it is hard to believe that Vladi Kagan won’t be with us anymore. The German-born Manhattan-based, Columbia-graduate Kagan has died yesterday at the age of 89. To Kagan, making and designing furniture was a lifetime passion, a part of his DNA, as he learned cabinetmaking and the magic of the woods from his father, a Russian master cabinetmaker. He was a part of New York City design world, participating in events, fairs, exhibitions, lectures. It was always great to see him, to hear about his plans, about his travels, about the house in Nantucket, which he loved so much. I first fell in love with 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 in Sands Point. The living room, I clearly remember, 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, that his sculptural, distinctive, powerful pieces had the potential to transform spaces, to make you feel and think differently about design. His magnificent work, spirit, passion, and legacy lives on forever. 

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