By Tom Ravenscroft
American artist and designer Misha Kahn presented a series of new limited-edition pieces at the Nomad Monaco collectible-design fair, featuring colourful jewels, shiny metal and sea shells.
Kahn created 15 new designs for New York gallery Friedman Benda, which was presenting at Nomad for the first time.
The centrepiece of the presentation was a large-scale stainless steel coffee table adorned with jewel-like coloured glass forms, which Kahn said “feel like sapphires and rubies and gems that have gone limp and have become infectious”.
An addition to Kahn’s Angler series, the piece is named Back Bend Starfish Puts On All Her Jewels For Her Workout.
Kahn also created two new armchairs for his colourful Claymation series, designed to look like moulded blobs of clay.
Named American Gothic and Slurp, Snap, Arm Akimbo, the chairs are intended to offer a sense of fun.
“I think furniture tends to be so static in its stance,” said Kahn. “I wanted to try to capture this sense of levity and motion, like it was a sort of freeze frame in an animation, where shapes are having fun and happen to have assembled themselves into chairs.”
The designer also created a coat rack called The Waking Hours, as part of his Flotsam and Jetsam series.
According to Kahn, the piece was influenced by “those little bright shapes you see when you open your eyes first thing in the morning”.
Other new works included a selection of large woven works and a sculptural totem.
Dezeen was media partner for Nomad Monaco 2018, which took place from 26 to 29 April, inside a Monte Carlo villa that was once home to Karl Lagerfeld.
Friedman Benda’s showcase was located in one of the spaces on the ground floor of the building.
Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, co-founder of Nomad, picked the installation as his favourite.
“I appreciate the work of Misha Kahn, as I was not too familiar with his work, I have to say. And I really appreciate that Friedman Benda chose to do only new works for us,” he told Dezeen.
Bellavance-Lecompte was not convinced that any of the pieces would fit in his house, but appreciated the experience that Kahn had created in the villa.
“It’s maybe not my cup of tea normally, but it’s definitely interesting,” he said. “It’s a world. You walk in there and you feel like Alice in Wonderland went on LSD.”
“His approach is very interesting for this context as he is literally sitting on the edge of the art and design world.”
Kahn’s presentation also included a chair called Miss Fishy, designed to reflect on the plight of the sea.
The topic was explored in a series of talks during the fair. Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch spoke about the world’s addiction to plastic, while artist Chris Jordan detailed his film Albatross, which focuses on the birds that are dying from ingesting plastic on the Pacific island of Midway.
Friedman Benda is one of the world’s leading design galleries.
It has been one of the biggest champions of Misha Kahn, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. It has showcased the designer’s work at Design Miami and in a dedicated exhibition in New York.
The gallery was one of 17 to exhibit at Nomad Monaco, including Beirut’s Carwan Gallery, Galleria Luisa Delle Piane from Milan and London’s Gallery Fumi.