Two of the biggest names in interiors met up at last week’s West Week at the Pacific Design Center when Holly Hunt unveiled stunning designs by the legendary Vladimir Kagan. Long known for furnishings and lifestyle pieces that double as modern sculpture, Kagan, who died last April, has found a fitting new home at Hunt’s impeccably curated showroom. Hunt took time out of her busy West Week schedule to discuss Kagan as an artist, designer, and friend.
Tell me about your history with Vladimir Kagan. Holly Hunt: It is small, but deep. I met Vladimir in Europe 10 or 12 years ago and fell in love with him. We worked together on various projects over the years and in 2014 Vladi, his daughter Vanessa, and I had dinner at the New York Yacht Club and he wanted to sell his company to Knoll and me. At that time, the deal didn’t work out, but happily here we are today.
One of the projects you worked on with Kagan was a custom sofa for your apartment in Chicago. Describe the process of working with him on this? HH: My apartment building in Chicago was built in 1914 and doesn’t have large rooms. My living room has a curved window that overlooks the lake and needed a sofa that was smaller than what Vladi normally made. When I contacted him, he was thrilled to do it and he made it very easy. He sent me six options shaded in on velum and I chose one. Vladi wanted to do the whole room and in hindsight I wish I had let him.
In a few words describe Kagan’s aesthetic? HH: Fresh. Vladi’s pieces make a room more interesting because they have an abstract, impressionist scale. His designs were on trend when he started out and remain on trend today.
What is it about Kagan’s designs makes them both modern and timeless at once? HH: Vladi was a modernist in a traditionalist world. He had an inherent eye for scale and proportion and used the finest materials. He did it so well.
Share a few of your favorite pieces in the collection and some of the details that make them special. HH: The Sloan sofa, which has never been on a showroom floor before. In the New York showroom we have these two stunning curved sofas together with a beautiful sculptural installation made of paper by Brooklyn-based artist, Mia Pearlman. Another amazing piece is the Serpentine sofa. These two are Kagan at his best.