German born Vladimir Kagan (1927-2016) emigrated to the United States with his family in 1927. After studying architecture at Colombia University, he began to work alongside his father, a master cabinet maker, in his woodworking shop to learn the craft of furniture making from the ground up. Opening his first shop in New York in 1948 and by 1950 moving to the fashionable 59th Street, Kagan’s clients included luminaries of the arts, music and theatre worlds as well as captains of industry.
Throughout a prolific working life, spanning almost 70 years, Kagan created furniture in upholstery, cast aluminium, wrought iron and the sinuous sculpted wooden frames that became the hallmarks of his career. He often declared that his design philosophy embodied the axiom ‘less is more’, aiming to create ‘conversation pieces’, such as his Rocking Chair in the 1950’s and the Omnibus Section Sofa Collection in 1970.
Emphasizing comfort and functionality; many of Kagan’s pieces are considered icons of mid-century design and are collected avidly by connoisseurs and museums worldwide.