GRAND RAPIDS — Kendall College of Art and Design will host internationally renowned furniture designer Vladimir Kagan during a reception and book signing from 3-5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, in Room 502 at Kendall, 17 Fountain St. NW.
Kagan’s biography, “The Complete Kagan,” has just been released by the publisher and will be for sale at the reception.
In addition to the reception, Kagan will direct a studio session with furniture design students earlier in the day, which will include a studio design problem/assignment.
Kagan is considered one of the pioneers of modern design. With a career that spans over 40 years, Kagan’s amorphous sculptural designs of the late ’40s and early ’50s created a new look in American furniture. Today, Kagan’s early designs are classics of contemporary furniture, coveted by collectors for their original design and craftsmanship. His furniture has been included in the private collections of many leaders in the world of art, fashion and music, including Isaac Stern, Tom Ford, Frank Sinatra and Donna Karan. Kagan’s latest creations incorporate 21st century sensibility with his trademark organic shapes while maintaining the highest standards of workmanship.
Kagan’s designs can be seen in many impressive locations. His classic Cubist Chairs, designed in 1967, were selected by Giorgio Armani for his Nobu Restaurant. Kagan’s multi-level, multi-directional seating group called Omnibus, and its accompanying tables designed in the late ’60s, were selected by Tom Ford for his home in Santa Fe, N.M., and then selected by him for all 360 Gucci stores worldwide. One of the latest nightspots in the university town of Freiburg, Germany, has been named The Kagan Club and Lounge, featuring furniture designed by Kagan. It’s on the 18th floor of the only high-rise building in the city.
Kagan was born in Worrms am Rhein in Germany in 1927 and moved with his family to the United States in 1938. After studying architecture at Columbia University, he joined his father’s woodworking business in 1947. He applied his creativity to furniture and interior design and in 1949 opened his first showroom in New York. His first clients included Marilyn Monroe, Xavier Cougart, Lilly Pons, Gary Cooper and Sherman Fairchild.