High standards: Stephanie Odegard's vision includes beautiful things and human rights

 

saxonhenry@aol.com

Miami Beach artist Mira Lehr likened visiting the Odegard showroom for the first time to a religious experience. ''It's so beautiful, it's like a cathedral,'' she says. ``Everything is arranged in this very quiet way that seems profound.''

With a mix of furniture, accessories and fine carpets, the showroom reflects the sensibilities of founder Stephanie Odegard.

''My sense of aesthetics is definitely innate, but as I have new references to draw from -- through living, studying and maturing -- my sensibilities continue to evolve,'' Odegard said. ``I've also had a chance to work alongside some very talented artisans.''

Odegard collaborates with visual artists, designing carpets inspired by their art. One such artist is Lehr, who has a line of carpets designed after her paintings. Odegard also has been a human-rights champion for the craftspeople who make her products.

For instance, Odegard's carpets, found on the floors of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Aspen, Colo., home of Robert Redford, are hand-knotted in Nepal and India, countries where she hopes her efforts will help to resuscitate strife-torn societies.

As early as 1987, Odegard began trying to establish a market for high-end carpets by creating contemporary designs (only traditional motifs had been used before), thus giving jobs to hundreds of Nepalese craftspeople. She increased the knots per square inch to 100 from the traditional 50 or 60 and developed new dyes to add richer, more modern shades to the palette, making the rugs more appealing to the luxury market, which can pay more. Prices range from $30 per square foot for cotton flat-weaves to $123 for a pure Himalayan wool rug with special vegetable dyes. Her carpets are certified by Rugmark, the international label against illegal child labor in the carpet industry.

In her newest venture, Odegard is collaborating with French designer Paul Mathieu to produce smooth and hammered metal furniture and carved marble accessories crafted in Udaipur, India. The lines, which include a beautifully patterned Semainier (chest) from the Louise Collection ($7,895) and a set of nesting tables ($5,360), have just debuted in the Miami showroom.

Miami architect Alison Spear trekked to India with Odegard and was inspired to create a line of side and coffee tables. Spear's drinks tables, which are $710 each, are available in white metal, brass, copper and silver.

Among the accessories in the showroom are marble goblets ($280 each), gold-plated lotus candle stands (from $150 to $405), hand-embroidered blankets of Kashmir wool ($670) and sterling silver spice spoons ($360 for a set of seven).

''I always have a vision that I want to communicate,'' says Odegard, a former Peace Corps volunteer. ``I appreciate simple, beautiful things.''

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
The work 'IMAG_NE' by Australian artist Emma Anna, coming to Boca Raton this fall, on display in Sydney, Australia in 2008.

    Florida notes

    It’s the season to see Key Deer

    Dear to the hearts of many are the miniature deer that exist only in the Florida Keys. Fully grown, these Key Deer stand only two to three feet high, but resemble their bigger siblings in every respect: Stags grow a full set of antlers, does charm with their limpid eyes.

  • wine

    It’s time to give syrah another shot

    Speaking of a St. Louis restaurant years ago, Yogi Berra famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

  • Dear Abby

    Dear Abby: Obsession over six-pack abs puts swimmer in unsafe water

    Dear Abby: I’m a 21-year-old man who has been a successful swimmer in high school and now in college. Over the past few months, I have become obsessed with developing six-pack abs. I have never had much success with women, and I thought that looking like a movie star might finally get me noticed and make me feel good about myself.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category