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Breaking The Mold

Interior Design Magazine September 2009

Breaking The MoldBreaking The Mold

Their worlds have overlapped for decades, but designer Vladimir Kagan and Ralph Pucci International never actually collaborated. Until now. 'Kagan and I were in L.A. when he showed me chair sketches from the '50's,' Ralph Pucci says. 'I thought it was a perfect idea to use our mannequin workshop to produce one.' Within a week, Kagan made a miniature clay mock-up. Pucci then had a full-scale clay model sculpted to form the plaster mold, which was ultimately cast in fiberglass. 'Working in a pliable material was a totally liberating experience after making wooden substrata and fleshing them out in soft upholstery,' Kagan says.

The finished Fiberglass chair already graced the windows of New York's Saks Fifth Avenue to promote Pucci's 192-page career retrospective, Show, but officially bows in October uptown at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The chair will then be offered in a limited edition of approximately 100. 212-633-0452; circle 423

From top: Vladimir Kagan took a break from over- seeing mold-making at Ralph Pucci International's mannequin workshop. Ralph Pucci's book and mannequin and Kagan's limited-edition Fiberglass chair shared a window at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. Kagan sculpted these maquettes in pottery clay.

Opposite left: At 38 inches wide, the white version flaunts a gloss finish, while the black version is matte.
1. Ralph Pucci International sculptor Michael Evert translated Kagan's maquette into a full-scale clay model.
2. Over the clay model, a plaster mold was formed.
3. The mold and model were separated.
4. Sanding the interior of the plaster mold prepared it for fiberglass to be hand-laminated inside.
5. The plaster mold was recast in fiberglass.
6. The fiberglass chair received a spray coat of polyurethane.
7. After 24 hours, the polyurethane was hand-polished.