Vladimir Kagan is one of today's most enduring designers of modern furniture with a career that has spanned more than sixty years. He started designing in 1946 and by the early Fifties, his innovative sculptured designs created a new look in American furniture. Today, his sparkling creations are on the cutting edge of the 21st century. His designs are spearheading creative designs for hotels, furniture, textiles and home furnishings. The New York Times says: "Vladimir Kagan is one of the most important furniture designers of the 20th century. Furniture designed by him in the forties, fifties and sixties have become icons of Modernity and an obligatory reference to every designer. He is the creative grandfather of a whole new generation of designers."
Born in Worms on the Rhine, Germany in 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). In 1948 he opened his first shop in New York on East 65th Street and moved to fashionable 57th Street in 1950. His clients were luminaries in the world of art, theater, music and industry. They included Marilyn Monroe, Xavier Cugat, Lily Pons, Gary Cooper, Sherman Fairchild of Fairchild Aviation, Walt Disney, General Electric, Monsanto, General Motors, Prudential Insurance, and the Government of Venezuela.
Connoisseurs and museums are avidly collecting his designs today. Kagan's furniture is in the private collections of Barbara Jacobson of the Museum of Modern Art, film director David Lynch, actor Dan Akroyd, the Spice Girls and David Bowie, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Courtney Cox, Demi Moore, Uma Thurman as well as the late artists Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Sinatra and Violinist Isaac Stern. Fashion designers Tom Ford, Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Joseph, Elie Tahari, Roberto Cavalli, and Anna Fendi, Barry Diller, Dian Von Furstenberg are all Kagan collectors. His prizewinning designs have been published in books and magazines internationally and are in the permanent collections of the V&A, London, the Vitra Design Museum and Die Neue Samlung in Germany, the Brooklyn Museum,the Cooper Hewitt Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Pasadena Art Institute, Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago's Athenaeum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- 2008 - This coming April, Vladimir Kagan will launch his newest venture, Vladimir Kagan Couture, a showroom to Designers and Architects at 200 Lexington Avenue, in New York. The collection is an amalgamation of his designs from the 50's to the 21st century. Custom manufactured in the United States. The showroom will feature exclusive fabrics and leathers, art exhibits and vintage Kagan furniture.
- Coming this spring, Vladimir Kagan's vintage Capricorn Collection (1958) made in powder coated stainless steel for indoor and outdoor use, will be introduced by Delgreco Inc. New York.
- 2007 - Mr. Kagan designs a prize-winning collection of outdoor woven resin wicker furniture for Barlow Tyrie Ltd of London.
- 2005 - Vladimir Kagan designs a twelve story residential building in No-Ho New York, corner of The Bowery and Great Jones Street, scheduled for completion in 2009.
- 2004 - Vladimir Kagan writes his autobiography: The Complete Kagan, Pointed Leaf Press, with an introduction written by Tom Ford.
- 2001 - Tom Ford selects the Kagan Omnibus seating designs for all 360 Gucci stores.
- Armani selects Kagan Cubist Dining chairs and Banquets for his new Nobu Restaurant in Milan.
- Andre Balasz selects Vladimir Kagan to design the lobby of The Standard Hotel Downtown in Los Angeles.
- Corporate enterprises from BMW to LVMH, Helena Rubenstein, NBC television and many more, specified Kagan furniture for their corporate headquarters, exhibits and events.
- Kagan New York Collection, sold through out the World.
achievements and honors
- 2007, Vladimir Kagan received the American Society of Interior Designer's Product Design Award.
- 2004, Vladimir Kagan's autobiography: The Complete Kagan, 272 pages with over 400 photos and illustrations was published by Pointed Leaf Press
- 2002, Vladimir Kagan received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum Art at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Modernism Show at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
- 2001, Vladimir Kagan received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design bestowed by the Board of Trustees of Ferris State University of Grand Rapids Michigan.
- 2001, he received the Pinnacle Award from the American Society of Furniture Designers for one of his Sofas for the American Leather Company.
- 2000, he was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Furniture Designers.
- 1992, Mr. Kagan reintroduced a limited edition of his Classic Designs, which are available today as Vladimir Kagan Couture
- 1990 to 1992, Mr. Kagan served as President of the American Society of Interior Designers, A.S.I.D. New York Metropolitan Chapter.
- 1980, New York's Fashion Institute of Technology honored Mr. Kagan with a thirty-year retrospective exhibit: Vladimir Kagan: Three Decades of Design
Mr. Kagan has served as chairman of the Advisory Commission of the School of Art and Design in New York and been a member on numerous committees for the Architectural League of New York. He has served on the faculty of New York's Parsons School of Design and has lectured extensively on the history of modern design in furniture and architecture.
Vladimir Kagan is married to Erica Wilson, internationally known needlework designer, author and Television personality. They have three children and live between their homes in New York and Nantucket and Palm Beach.