May 4, 2020

Hello Cindy! Goes to Udaipur, India with Stephanie Odegard

What better way to start off the work week than with a 2 p.m. EST Hello Cindy! segment on Instagram Live? Today, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen (@thecindygram) hosted a chat with Stephanie Odegard, the woman Allen says is responsible for “bringing the handmade carpet trade into the United States.” She joined from her current home in Udaipur, India, “a great place to be creative,” she says, despite the lack of air conditioning. 

The lockdown in India has reshaped the way Odegard shops and eats. Instead of having a cook and going to markets, vendors have gone mobile and shown up on the residential streets. How does she shop during a lockdown? Odegard drops a bucket attached to rope down from her window where the vendor fills it up, then she pulls it back in. This little engineering project is one of the unique experiences that have made Odegard’s quarantine bearable, despite the otherwise empty streets. 

“A lot of things that we make here are from the local stones,” Odegard explained as Allen pulled up the images of stones in Odegard’s frequent rotation of use. The textured and fossilized stones are familiar to Odegard’s clients as she uses the material in many different shades for many different pieces, including the creation of a conference table. The province of Rajasthan, in fact, is famous among stone-design historians, the Taj Mahal being one example of a Rajasthani stone build. Odegard, meanwhile, is working on hand-cut chandeliers and flooring from slabs and composites of the stones.

Current projects for Odegard include custom hallway runners for a client whom she worked with back in her home state of Minnesota. The materials and palette are inspired by the landscapes of Arizona and Udaipur. By this point in her career, clients that work with Odegard expect Indian panache in the final design, and in process and material too. Bauble-centric totems for a hotel in Florida and an iron-chair for a Times Square billboard are other works in process for Odegard.

“What you do is complicated and special,” Allen said, adding that she is always excited to see the process and result of an Odegard project. “It’s a challenge, too,” Odegard added, referring to the act of sourcing materials and designing products for the first time. “Nothing standard when it comes to Stephanie,” Allen said with a smile, closing out the chat. 

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