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Vladimir Kagan's First Works In Fibreglass

LA Times Magazine January 2010

Vladimir Kagan's First Works In FibreglassVladimir Kagan's First Works In Fibreglass

Vladimir Kagan's first works in fiberglass premiere at Ralph Pucci showroom in West Hollywood

Celebrated as one of the pioneers of midcentury biomorphic modernism -- objects based on living organisms -- Vladimir Kagan has long been a designer with a futurist streak. At 82, he is still hard at work, posts on Facebook and Twitter and even writes his own inspiring and cheeky blog. (One recent post featured his photos of, and ruminations on, urinals and sinks.)

On Thursday, reissues of Kagan's first works in plastic -- a lounge chair and ottoman, above -- will be unveiled at the Ralph Pucci International showroom in the Pacific Design Center. The son of a cabinetmaker, Kagan achieved mastery in his medium, shaping wood into sinuous arms and legs for upholstered furniture and crafting curvaceous bases for glass-topped tables. Like his contemporary, Isamu Noguchi, Kagan created home furnishings that belong in the category of functional sculpture.

Kagan created the crescent-shaped chair and the anvil-like ottoman with the help of Pucci, who also manufactures fiberglass mannequins designed by the likes of womenswear designer Anna Sui, Parisian interior decorator Andree Putman and fashion illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari.

Satisfied with the results, Kagan also fashioned four sculptures for a collection called Variations on Vladimir. 'Flame,' above right, is $4,000. The other designs are sold in limited editions from $10,000 to $20,000.

The furniture is similarly priced like art. The chair ($7,500) and ottoman ($2,500) are limited editions available in bone, as shown above, black and foundry gray, which looks like graphite. (The set in clear fiberglass is a whopping $16,500.)

By David A. Keeps