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Kagan Curves

New York Spaces October 2009

Kagan CurvesKagan Curves

Ralph Pucci International reissues a collection of 'lost masterpieces' designed by Vladimir Kagan

TEXT: MARJORIE E. GAGE
PHOTOGRAPHY: ANTOINE BOOTZ

'VLADIMIR KAGAN HAS BECOME SO WELL KNOWN FOR HIS SERPENTINE
sofa that I sometimes think people believe it's the only piece of furniture he ever designed,' says Ralph Pucci, only half in jest. 'It's a beautiful, innovation, comfortable design, and rightfully famous, but he has made so much more - and the time has come to show it.'

Walking through Kagan's warehouse last year, Pucci was struck by the diversity of the designer's body of work: Not just the sinuous sofas introduced in the 1950s (which have been produced, reproduced, and copied for 50 years), but a wide vocabulary of organically shaped plexiglas-base desks, curvaceous chenille chaises, and gravity-defying pedestal tables. Pucci, whose Flatiron District furniture showroom has carried Kagan's work for years, was stunned. 'I turned to vladimir that day and asked him, 'Why have you been hiding these?' says pucci. 'It was a collection of lost masterpieces.'

For Kagan - one of the 20th-century's most prolific designers- the pieces, although out of production for years, were far from 'lost': He'd simply been too busy creating new designs to dust off pieces from the archives. 'These pieces, like all of Vladimir's work, are like sculptures,' says Pucci, 'and it is time they saw the light of day once again.' Given the go-ahead to select a group of pieces for re-introduction, Pucci approached the collection as an art curator readying for a retrospective. 'You find with Kagan, when you look back, you are also looking forward,' he says.

They once were 'lost'
faithfully reproduced from mid-century originals, Vladimir Kagan's 'Lost Materpieces ' collection for Ralph Pucci includes (clockwise from top) the designer's spayed-leg Venetian Sofa; the Swivel Chair; and the Lotus Chair.

free-form meets function
This photograph: Vladimir Kagan's boomerang shaped Wing Desk has returned. Here, the piece crafted of walnut with a Plexiglas base is paired with the chenille-upholstered Lotus Chair. Below: Kagan's Contour Chaise stretches out under a mural by cuban-born illustrator Ruben Toledo, which incorporates pieces from the collection.

long lost classics
Kagan's walnut Bar Cart (above) and glass-and-aluminum Unicorn End Table (right) reflect the designer's affinity for sculptural lines, innovative materials, and fine craftsmanship.