Designer Margrethe Odgaard about process and color

Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard’s exhibition was on view at the Design Museum in Helsinki during this summer. An introduction to her work put the creative aspect of design in focus. Odgaard’s study of color and the cultural signification of it is very relevant and timely for innovative design conversation, in which we are looking for perspectives that see beyond the pure form.

It feels timely to give design process a platform, which naturally builds discussion about contemporary creative culture. In the world of high tech platforms, we may say that the DNA of design can be found in those practices, which designers organically share with the world in which they live. Without the personal and playful approach, perhaps the future of design would find itself in trouble.

The Helsinki exhibition featured Margrethe Odgaard’s collaborations and use of materials bringing forth an idea of process. What it highlights is that design should not abandon creativity and art. Margrethe Odgaard was assisting late Louise Bourgeois in the artist’s large scale work, which she created for MoMA in 2005-2006. The young designer learned from this experience with the famous artist. Bourgeois shared an approach that artist has to believe 100 percent in the work, even if the outside world is not able to see the same thing. According to her, ideas and vision come with a careful attention to detail, and from a non-compromising attitude.

In the future, Odgaard hopes to work more from her own studio base, and focus on the quality of the materials and colors. There is still huge call for colors in our contemporary cultural environment. Tactility of design does not come to mind as a top priority, and the colors still belong to a neglected area in the design world and architecture. Odgaard’s dream is to bring colors back to the black and grey field of architecture, which she frequently collaborates with.

Odgaard’s design can appear as minimal, yet playful, featuring bold ideas and patterns. It is important for her that the work has emotive response from various audiences. She hopes that the designs bring comfort and energy to our everyday life. Colors have so much potential to give birth to moods and create different atmospheres. Odgaard has focused on the cultural context of colors. She traveled to Japan in 2015, and to Morocco in 2016 investigating culturally specific domains for colors. The designer aimed to find out if there are specific ways to code the local colors from architecture and objects that are attached to particular places.

Odgaard trusts that as a younger generation Scandinavian designer, she is aware of the craft that carries a long cultural history. This means that she is able to add on the existing knowledge, and offer solutions to design questions and problems, which can be both beautiful and functional. At the heart of her color thinking is The Popsicle Index, which she created as a tool. It comes out in rich color hues that appeal to the senses and relate to the body.

dm_popsicle-index-1_photo-andreas-omvik
Margrethe Odgaard wanted to create a color system as an alternative to Pantone color system.

Copenhagen based Odgaard studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. After graduating in 2005, she worked as a textile designer in Philadelphia. Before opening her own studio in Copenhagen in 2013, she also designed in Paris. In 2016, the designer received a prestigious Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize, which is the largest design prize in the world.

Muuto shoot
Margrethe Odgaard sates that colors and textiles can make together strong combinations, leaving an impact that is speaking to feelings as much as to eyes.

The textile designer looks for the purpose behind the design, and confirms that it should be always clearly attached to the process. The product is the end result of what the process entails. Margrethe Odgaard keeps diary of the colors which are inspirational for the designs. Details of colors have become a crucial part of her process. Nuances are extremely important, and the diary is a great tool as part of the investigation. Results are far away from being shy. It is truly a matter of sharing as well.

“Share your knowledge, ideas and skills without hesitation. Be specific to order to become general. Use good tools and create new if necessary. Think through your hands. Free yourself from the limits of coolness. Allow things to evolve in their own pace. Listen. Laugh. Dance.” – Margrethe Odgaard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margrethe Odgaard’s exhibition was on view until August 28, at the Design Museum in Helsinki, more info:

www.designmuseum.fi.

Julian Stanczak’s color energy

If you can imagine color energy that bounces back from the walls with blues, reds, greens, and yellows with prismatic and subtle intensity that resembles music, Julian Stanczak’s paintings are for you. The seasoned painter at 86, believed in the power of the abstraction, and in the musical inspiration in his art-making, as he posed in front of his painting during the opening of his solo-exhibition in New York. Stanczak’s exhibition ‘From Life’ is now on view at the Mitchell-Inness & Nash -gallery and will run until December 6. As a young boy, the painter had wanted to be a cellist, and transferred his emotive passion into his paintings. Even a recent work from 2011, titled as ‘Proportional Mixing’ (2011), still handles colors in abstract modalities like in musical compositions. The gallery’s first solo exhibition of Stanczak’s work comprises of a dozen large-scale paintings from the 1960s to the present, including works that have not been seen in the public view for decades. Now on view are artworks, in which the colors are arranged in geometrical forms, lingering hypnotic chromatism and possessing internal vapor, communicating energy and organic presence.

In 2000, the artist began to create small panels and combine them into wall constellations. He produces the canvases through a complex process of tape masks. The color layers are systematically added and unveiled coming out as repetitions, with spacings and rhythms. The artist relies on his own vision of a finished work without doing preliminary sketches. He emphasizes life experiences in his art, so naturally his own personal history comes to life in the artworks. Stanczak experienced huge differences in places as a young person. He was born in Poland in 1928, spent time in a labor camp in Siberia, and in Polish refugee camp in Uganda, Africa. He immigrated to the United States in 1950. He studied at the Yale University with Josef Albers and Conrad Marca-Relli graduating with M.F.A in 1956. During his formative years, the artist found his way to Phillips Collection in DC and was inspired by Paul Klee’s paintings and watercolors in the collection.

JULIAN STANCZAK: FROM LIFE
October 30—December 6, 2014
534 West 26th Street

http://www.miandn.com/

Julian Stanczak wih his Quartet in Cadmiums, 1994, Acrylic on canvas, 4 canvases, each: 89 1/8 by 60 in.
Julian Stanczak wih Quartet in Cadmiums, 1994, Acrylic on canvas, 4 canvases, each: 89 1/8 by 60 in.

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