Design News ‘Personal Palettes’ By Margarethe Odgaard

20th December 2017

When it comes to designing your kitchen, you cannot underestimate the impact of colour. As a master of mood and atmosphere, it is up there with lighting as the main contributor to the overall feel in your kitchen.

There is a misnomer that colour only impacts our sight, however there is a complex relationship between colour and how it makes us feel. It’s important to consider colour, pattern, material and how we select colours to appeal to all our senses. So, when you’re considering these elements of your kitchen design, try to look at fresh ways of combining and exploiting colour to deliver a richness that extends beyond what we see.

Margarethe Odgaard is an expert on the topic of using colour, having studied the theory throughout her career. As a leading Danish designer, Margarethe has used this knowledge to inform her ideas and revolutionise the design and textile industry in Denmark. She has collaborated with brands such as Muuto, HAY and Georg Jensen and now runs her own design studio in Copenhagen.

Margarethe’s interest in the surface of our surroundings is a fascinating place to start; she says: “I believe that objects made with diligence and care have a higher probability of reproducing a similar behaviour among people.” So, can we use colour in a similar way to inspire positive behavior in our day to day life? We will first look at Margarethe’s different projects to truly understand the concept.

Margarethe explored colour and pattern through a project called the Popsicle Index. Launched in 2003, it explored the Pantone Colour System and how this impacts the industry and therefore how designers work. This system is widely accepted and understandably a useful tool of colour communication, but it doesn’t unveil the true potential of colour.

The project investigated this notion by painting 520 carefully mixed colours on wooden popsicle sticks and using them as a personal colour reference index to see if it stimulated another sense: taste. Margarethe said: “I wanted a range of hues that possess an immediate appeal to the senses, not just sight, and I decided that if the colour appears edible, if you are willing to put the colour in your mouth, then it successfully relates to the body”.

Margarethe’s ‘Personal Palettes: Playing with colour, pattern and material’ showcased at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of London Design Festival 2017.

The colour diary was another significant project that came later in 2015, where Margrethe began to record her surroundings in order to “see more specifically”. Walking around the streets of Japan, Marrakech, New York and the Atlas Mountains, Margarethe painted colour combinations found in architecture and objects, which she found “especially appealing or intriguing”. From these sketches, a series of colour diaries, showcasing different colour combinations, were created as a tool of inspiration.

Margarethe explains: “The number of three colours refer to the musical chord, a harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard simultaneously”.

In this respect, the project highlights how colour in our day-to-day life can evoke feelings or emotions, even subconsciously. Japan has a rich tradition of using colours as a language of attraction. ‘Iro’, the Japanese word for colour, signifies lover and the feeling or mood of a thing. For this reason, you find beautiful colour combinations everywhere, from large architecture, to the pipes found underneath the sink. Could it be that we are undervaluing colour in our day-to-day lives? The practice of documenting colours in our environment and how they make us feel is the start of understanding how it impacts our mood. The benefit of choosing a hand-painted kitchen is that you select any colour (or colours) and even mix shades to achieve a different feel. So, when it comes to designing your kitchen, try to delve deeper when selecting colours and think about how it makes you feel, rather than simply how it looks.

Our kitchens are primed to be painted in any colour so that your kitchen design is truly unique to you. Request a brochure here for more colour inspiration or book a complimentary design consultation here in your local Harvey Jones showroom.