Without looking closely at Margrethe Odgaard’s airy Copenhagen studio, you might think she works at warp speed. Since launching her independent studio in 2012, she’s racked up textile designs for companies like Hay and Georg Jensen Damask, while collaborating with other Danish creatives, from furniture designer Christina Liljenberg Halstrøm to a local chef-brewer duo with whom she designed branding for a line of beer. But poke around her shelves and you’ll find a rigorous foundation for her freewheeling body of work.
Several years back, Odgaard created her own color index as an alternative to mathematically-derived systems like Pantone, RAL, and NCS. "Most of those colors lack complexity," she explains. She wanted a range of hues that possess an immediate appeal to the senses, not just sight. "I decided that if the color appears edible, if you are willing to put the color in your mouth, then it [successfully] relates to the body." She painted the resulting 280-color palette, a rich spectrum that ranges from a color-shifting cocoa to an ultra-saturated neon purple, onto popsicle sticks.
Odgaard—who spent time at the Rhode Island School of Design in addition to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts—was raised in pastoral western Denmark. "Nature marked me in the sense that I am attracted to opposition like forging ahead in a strong headwind," Odgaard says. "As a designer, I am constantly striving to not only make noise but to actually make a difference."
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