Vladimir Kagan, an inimitable postwar furniture designer known for his sculpture-like chairs and who counted Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol as clients, passed away yesterday at the age of 88. In remembrance, we revisit our August 2010 tour of Kagan's home, photographed by Todd Selby, below.
This week we stop in to visit with a second creative icon -- legendary furniture designer Vladimir Kagan. Here, Kagan shows PAPERMAG and the Selby around the extraordinary Upper East Side home he shares with his wife Erica Wilson, who is a famous needlepoint artist in her own right. And, boy, is their home fabulous -- it's filled with his furniture, her needlepoints, and a ton of colorful art that they have amassed over the years.
The rest of the Selby's series on Kagan will appear on his website, theselby.com, in the coming weeks. Until then, you can get a sneak peek here. Below, Vladimir and Erica answer a few questions for us about the place they call home.
What kind of building do you live in and what's the neighborhood like?
We live in the last relic of an era past -- a wonderful building on upper Park Avenue with a courtyard and garden and drive-in entry. It has great Gothic architecture with formidable doormen dressed as guards. It's secure, comfortable and was great for bringing up kids. We've lived there over forty years and all of our children grew up there! When we first moved there, all our friends had never been this far uptown. But neighborhoods change and now Harlem is chic.
What is your favorite chair in your home?
My favorite chair is Erica's embroidered rocking chair, because it combines both of our work at an early time in our marriage and has become iconic over the years.
What is your newest purchase for your home?
A huge frying pan to make my chicken piccata! Otherwise, our home needed nothing new. Only de-cluttering.
What is the most sentimental piece you have in your home?
Probably some of the family antiques. Objects with a history.
Where do you mostly hang out in your home when relaxing?
I spend too much time at my desk. But, to escape, we go into the living room where we have one solitary canary that serenades us.
What is the oldest thing you have in your home?
Probably the dining room armoire, the Welch dresser or the living room larder cabinet.
What's your favorite thing about where you live?
Comfort and familiarity. I can find anything in the dark or lead someone to the drawer where anything is stored, even when I am hundreds of miles away. Additionally, I love having a fire in the fireplace -- a rare treat in NYC. We live on the 14th floor. There is lots of air and views through all windows and the elevator opens up to only our apartment. What can be better?