Furniture designer Vladimir Kagan dies

American furniture designer Vladimir Kagan died April 7, 2016 at the age of 88. According to Architectural Digest, Kagan passed away in Palm Beach, Fla., where he had traveled to attend the unveiling of a new design for Ralph Pucci International.Vladimir Kagan

Born in Worms on the Rhine, Germany on Aug. 29, 1927, Vladimir Kagan came to the United States in 1938. His earliest focus was on painting and sculpture but in his formative years he became exceedingly attracted to architecture and design.

He studied Architecture at Columbia University and in 1947 joined his father, Illi Kagan, a master cabinetmaker, to work in his woodworking shop and learn furniture making from the ground up.Early commissions included the Delegate's Cocktail Lounges for the first United Nations Headquarters in Lake Success N.Y. (1947-48) and the furniture for the Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland.

In 1948 he opened his first shop in New York on East 65th St. and moved to 57th St. in 1950. Inspired by the "less is more, form follows function" Bauhaus principles, the contemporary curves of Kagan's designs are expressed in such iconic pieces as the Serpentine Sofa (1949), Barrel Chair (1947), and the Floating Sofa (1952).

Kagan's prize-winning designs have been published in books and magazines internationally, are collected worldwide, and are in the permanent collections of the V&A London, the Vitra Design Museum and Die Neue Samlung in Germany as well as museums in the United States. 

He was inducted in the Interior Designer Hall of Fame in 2009, 62 years after he started designing and producing furniture. In 2008, Kagan helped launch the Las Vegas Market's Design Icon lecture series, where design legends share their stories and experiences to inspire tomorrow’s designers. 

He was married to the embroidery designer Erica Wilson, who died in 2011. Together they had three children.

In recent years, Kagan documented many of his travels, museum visits, appearances and design thoughts on his blog at vladimirkagan.typepad.com.

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