Style Without Substance | Misha Kahn

Misha Kahn-For Those Who Float, 2022


Style Without Substance, American designer Misha Kahn’s forth exhibition at Friedman Benda in NYC could be interpreted as a critique of the melted aesthetic popular in design these days. However the furnishings and lighting that make up the show aren’t completely impractical and Kahn seems to be searching for the edge.

The majority of the work exhibited was created during the pandemic and this forced Kahn to try some new design and fabrication techniques such as VR and 3D printing. In fact, a new studio assistant is a retrofitted auto-industry robot that I assume helps with sculpting and milling operations.

While it’s the amorphous shapes and bright colors that capture the attention first, the foundation of this work is more about material exploration. And the palette used is quite varied ranging from metals and plastics to fiber textiles and technogel.

There’s a human desire to make things flat, I don’t think that’s a quote but I remember hearing it at some point in the past. Style Without Substance explores the inverse of that and introduces a kind of organic futurism.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter