Margrethe Odgaard Interview: Shades of Light

“Colour is the emotional part of the structure.” Experience the Nordic colour spectrum as perceived by award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard. Over the course of two years, we have followed the making of Odgaard’s enchanting book of carefully curated colours, ‘Shades of Light’.

Odgaard realised that if she was to work with colours deliberately, she had to “stop knowing the answers’ and look without preconception instead. After a trip to Japan in 2015, she began noting colours on site in a colour diary, impressed with the Japanese aptitude for using colours that fit their environment and light conditions. A similar approach was employed in Morocco in 2016: “I realised by doing the Morocco diary that we are really, as cultures, very much affected by the light and the colour of the ground.” Doing the colour diaries from Japan and Morocco provided Odgaard with the knowledge and the courage to approach the colours of the North: “There’s no definite palette of the North. This will be my vision…”

“Recently, I understood that if I have to work with colour in a thorough way, I have to understand that colour depends entirely on light.” Odgaard also looked into light and shadow “because we find ourselves in shadow like 80 per cent of the time.” This is why she simultaneously did an experiment where she recorded how light moves on a shape through a day, “trying to understand the quality of light when it hits the surface of a colour.” Moreover, in ‘Shades of Light’, a short text of the sensory aspects accompanies each of the ten featured colour groups: “In order to make you re-connect with your imagination. I do that because I believe colour should be dreamed or thought through in order to make them alive inside you as well as outside you.”

Margrethe Odgaard (b. 1978) is a Danish designer. She has collaborated with brands such as Muuto, HAY and Georg Jensen and now runs her own design studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before setting up her studio, she worked for several years as a textile designer at French fashion company Epice. Odgaard is also part of the duo Included Middle with furniture designer Chris L. Halstrøm. In 2016, she received the Torsten och Wanja Söderbergs Prize, one of the most prestigious design awards in the world. In 2019, Odgaard published the book ‘Shades of Light (An incomplete range of colours from a culture of slow and hesitant light)’ in collaboration with A. Petersen. The book is a 220 pages study of colours in a Nordic light and the result of more than two years of work with 276 finished colours.

Margrethe Odgaard was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at her studio in Copenhagen, Denmark in January 2017 and in May 2019. In the video, we follow the process of making her book ‘Shades of Light (An incomplete range of colours from a culture of slow and hesitant light)’.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum for Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden



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