Ned Kahn

An environmental designer with a background in environmental science, Ned Kahn explores natural phenomena through his projects. Typically, his projects incorporate fluid dynamics, optics, acoustics and other features of physics. During the 1980s, he was an apprentice to physicist Frank Oppenheimer at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Working out of Ned Kahn Studios in Sebastopol, Calif., he has designed exhibitions for museums in the United States, Canada and Japan and completed numerous public art commissions. Kahn’s works strikes an emotional chord, reminding the viewer of nature’s capacity to inspire apprehension, serenity, wonder and awe. One of Kahn’s best known projects is “Tornado,” a simulation of the chaotic phenomenon that allows the viewer to interact with the vapor vortex. Most recently his work draws attention to the interaction between natural phenomena and the built environment, such as in “Wind Portal,” 2003, an installation of 200,000 mirrored disks that respond to the air currents generated by the passing trains and natural wind in the BART Station at the San Francisco International Airport.

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