Born in Worms on the Rhine, Germany in 1927, Vladimir Kagan came to the United States in 1938. His earliest focus was on painting and sculpture but in his formative years he became exceedingly attracted to architecture and design. He studied Architecture at Columbia University and in 1947 joined his father, Illi Kagan, a master cabinetmaker, to work in his woodworking shop and learn furniture making from the ground up. In 1948 he opened his first shop in New York on East 65th Street and moved to fashionable 57th Street in 1950.
Vladimir was a recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Brooklyn Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the American Society of Furniture Designers, an inductee into the Interior Design Hall of Fame, as well as a father of 3 and grandfather of 6. After a prolific career spanning nearly 70 years, Vladimir passed away in April of 2016. At 88 years old, he remained an active part of his company until the end, debuting a new design the evening before he passed. Vladimir’s legacy is far reaching and will continue to be felt for decades to come.
An intricate blend of materials, design and art, the work of Christian Astuguevieille challenges conventional thinking. With furniture and accessory pieces revolving around his "Imaginary Civilization", its traditions, and rites. The pieces of work from this Frenchman are thought to be "dream detonators", and are meant to challenge the use of all of our senses and especially our sense of touch.
Astuguevieille's influence is far reaching. Working with Museum of Decorative Arts and the Pompidou Center in Paris led him to encounter people in the arts and fashion. He started developing his own language in sculpture, painting and jewelry while learning at the same time how to create perfumes and being Art Director of Couture Houses. In the early 80’s he made his first painted cotton cord sculptures and in 1989 he showed his first cotton cord and hemp rope furniture pieces in a Paris gallery. Meant to be interactive rather than traditionally utilitarian, Astuguevieille lends new perspectives to the world of interior design. He is still involved in perfume as the creative director of Comme des Garcons Parfums. He is a resident artist at “Atelier h”, Hermes, in order to recycle unused luxury materials and give them new life as one of kind pieces. He is also designing carpets and textiles, lamps and objects for Holly Hunt. They are all sold together with his rope furniture pieces exclusively in the United States at HOLLY HUNT and her partner showrooms.
Great design is in the details, and Tristan Auer's work celebrates each subtle line and curve with the most beautiful attention to every facet. Since earning his degree in interior design from ESAG in Paris in 1996, Auer has worked with some of the most influential designers in the business, including projects for Karl Lagerfeld and Nina Ricci. His work spans from private residences to international five star hotels, working to develop each brand image with a luxurious touch and a nod to the French “savoir faire.”
Alison Berger is an artist whose medium is light and whose material is glass. Whether designing light fixtures, objects, furnishings or large-scale sculptures, she uses age-old glass blowing techniques to create glass forms that transcend time and capture light.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Alison Berger trained as an architect. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and continued her studies at Columbia University School of Architecture. After working as an architect for many years, first with Bausman-Gill and Associates and then with Frank Gehry, Berger began to devote herself to glass design full time in 1995.
Having studied glass blowing for more than 25 years and apprenticed with sculptor Dale Chihuly, Berger uses a time proven, and time consuming, process to create her art. Each piece is hand blown, annealed for two or three days, and then hand finished and, in some cases, hand etched.
Berger's innovative work is part of the permanent collection of the Corning Museum, has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, and has been exhibited as part of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's National Design Triennial. Berger was commissioned by Comme des Garçons to design an architectural installation as a backdrop for her glass objects at the company's Tokyo Showroom and was the first American artist ever hired to create a line for Hermés. Alison Berger is also the recipient of Elle Décor's International Design awards Lighting Designer of the Year. Her work is extensively exhibited and published throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
With an ultimate goal of creating pieces that integrate architecture and interiors, Solis Betancourt works to achieve function, proportion and harmony through his designs. Betancourt grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended Cornell University, where he received a degree in architecture before founding his Washington D.C. based interior design firm in 1989.
With a great enthusiasm for twentieth-century architecture and a keen appreciation for industrial materials, Betancourt pays homage to his time with Skidmore, Owings and Merril in both the Washington and New York offices. He then worked with interior designer John Saladino who served as his mentor before Betancourt fully entered the world of interior design. In 1995, Jose Solis Betancourt began a lighting collection with HOLLY HUNT. Betancourt's inspiration stays rooted in the classics, maintaining symmetry and balance as fundamentals of his distinguished designs.
John Hutton (1947 - 2006)
Attributing his passion for design to the Scottish tradition of great designers and architects, John Hutton created a brand that is elegant, tailored, and focused on true comfort. Hutton was raised in West Islip New York and stayed there to raise his family.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, Hutton worked for the better part of his career as the Design Director for Donghia. During the course of that 20-year period, he produced more than 200 designs and accrued several important awards for his work. In 1998 John Hutton International was launched and became known predominantly for designs that were simple in structure and beautifully proportioned with a continued emphasis on making people comfortable.
Shortly thereafter Hutton designed his first collection for HOLLY HUNT. His influential designs are now part of collections at the Brooklyn Museum and Houston Museum of Fine Arts.
Creativity doesn’t just run in his blood, it runs through his lineage, as Stefan Gulassa was born the youngest of 6 into a family filled to the brim with artistic ingenuity. After attending art school in California and receiving a degree in Industrial Design, Gulassa joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Tunisia where he was challenged with helping the community re-embrace traditional architectural techniques to build economical and functional housing. It was this experience, plus the influence of his brother David with whom he worked for several years afterwards, that helped open Gulassa up to the freedom of experience and the joy of the journey. Earlier in life his visions were more structured and intentional, but later he found the lightness in allowing himself and his work to be influenced by the process, and to let that be the ultimate guide.
In 2008 Gulassa launched his own firm, Stefan Gulassa LLC based in Seattle, WA, where he designs exceptional lighting and accessory pieces. His exclusive collaboration with HOLLY HUNT launching in 2013 features light fixtures that celebrate Gulassa’s hands-on approach, with true artisanal techniques and construction. The collection emanates a radiant life force that can come only from a designer who lets his own personality breathe honesty and integrity into the soul of every piece.
French-born and a graduate of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Lyon, Paul Mathieu furthered his studies at Britain's West Surrey College of Art & Design before moving to Los Angeles and opening his first design studio. Paul Mathieu, who soon added satellite offices in Paris and Aix en Provence to that early Los Angeles base, has continued to refine his highly distinctive aesthetic, which prizes spare, artful spaces, rich in luxurious materials and enlivened by one-of-a-kind elements that reinvent traditional handicrafts.
Since his move to New York in early 2000, Paul Mathieu has worked with prestigious manufacturers and luxury brands on the creation of upholstered seating, case pieces and lighting along with his own production in bronze and Murano glass. Paul Mathieu's array of designs reveals his passion for sculptural shapes and superior craftsmanship. Now considered classics, his iconic pieces can be found in the best collections.
Widely covered by the press and the recipient of numerous awards, Paul Mathieu was named one of the “World's Top Furniture Designers” by Robb Report. In 2006, his Aria Chair was awarded “Best of Year” by Interior Design Magazine.
Some designers are explorers, nomads of culture and imagination in a global age. No one exemplifies this attitude better than Paul Mathieu, the multi-talented, multi-lingual, artist and designer, with ateliers in New York, Aix en Provence, Udaipur, and Murano.
Made famous for his innovative creations incorporating electrical light into wax candles, Kevin Reilly set a standard for lighting that is both rustic, romantic and chic. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, this self-taught artist and designer has been producing custom furniture and light fixtures for architects and designers for the past decade. In 2001, the collaboration between Reilly and HOLLY HUNT began.
Reilly's team works in a truly collaborative effort, taking great pride in their work. Production begins and ends in his workshop, starting with sheets of steel that are fabricated and finished into excellently crafted fixtures. Reilly's iconic candle motifs are constructed of specifically formulated wax and set to give the same ambient and soft glow of candlelight. Individually handcrafted, Kevin Reilly lighting has become a mainstay in the industry.
Inspired by the substance of being human, the world as seen through exploration and the necessity to approach ones surroundings with an uninhibited vision, Jean-Michel Wilmotte endeavors to create exceptional design. As an architect, urban planner and designer, Wilmotte founded his first architectural firm in 1975 and has excelled in redesigns of government buildings, colleges, airports and beyond. He redesigned and refurbished a selection of wings and galleries in the Louvre Museum and collaborated with prestigious brands such as Cartier and Montblanc to design their retail boutiques. Wilmotte has also worked in urban planning, designing architectural outdoor pieces to mingle with famous monuments across the world.
Expanding his eye for architecture and space, Wilmotte’s furniture designs incorporate innovative lines, surprising details and incredible craftsmanship.
Formally launching with HOLLY HUNT in October 2010, HH will be the exclusive distributor of Wilmotte designs worldwide.