Continually looking for fresh ways to combine tones, this colour alchemist is firmly on our 2019 radar

Portrait of Margrethe Odgaard in studio
Line Thit Klein

‘After decades of grey, black and white, I’m happy to see warm and nurturing tones coming back to our lives– they make our bodies feel rooted and stimulate our senses in a nourishing way.’ So says the Danish textile and colour designer Margrethe Odgaard, illustrating the understanding of hues that has led an array of iconic design brands to collaborate with her.

Kvadrat fabric colour wheel
Kvadrat fabric colour wheel

First discovered by Hay, which launched her ‘Fold Unfold’ tablecloth, Odgaard has since worked with Muuto on a range of rugs, throws and cushions, created textiles for Georg Jensen Damask and developed a new palette for Montana furniture, launching in May.

An excerpt from Margrethe Odgaard's Japanese colour diary
An excerpt from Margrethe’s Japanese colour diary
Andreas Omvik

With every product she works on, an in-depth study of colour is paramount, the starting point of which is often her ‘colour diaries’. Originally a personal project to record the mix of shades she spotted around the world, Odgaard’s painted and drawn observations form visual travel journals so beautiful that those from Japan, Morocco and Iceland have been put into print by design studio A. Petersen. ‘I’m fascinated by the colour combinations created by humans in architecture and objects,’ she tells us. ‘These schemes express design choices, behind which are traces of tradition and culture.’ Other influences in her work include abstract painters Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly and Donald Judd.

‘Reykjavik’ daybed by Included Middle (Odgaard and furniture designer Chris L Halstrøm’s studio) for Skagerak
‘Reykjavik’ daybed by Included Middle (Odgaard and furniture designer Chris L Halstrøm’s studio) for Skagerak
Andreas Omvik

This year will see her release two books on colour– including a diary of the Nordic countries, which has been three years in the making – and the launch of curtains and upholstery fabric with Kvadrat, as well as two solo exhibitions in Danish galleries. As she says, the future’s looking bright.

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration February 2019

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