It’s fair to say that Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans is exhilarated by travel. What else can you conclude about someone who has lived in half a dozen countries over the course of her life? Her love for adventure brought her to Jaipur seven years ago, and as much as she has imbibed from it—its energy, creativity and vibrancy—she has given back. Oudejans is the mastermind behind the regal beauty of Bar Palladio and Caffé Palladio, two of Jaipur’s most beloved and iconic restaurants, owned by her friend Barbara Miolini. For the former fashion designer—famed for her cult ‘90s New York label TOCCA—the transition to interior design was an unexpected but welcome challenge, and it’s one that keeps paying off.
Shop Latitude chats with Oudejans about her sense of style, globetrotting lifestyle, and why there’s no place on Earth like Jaipur.
Oudejans (left) with friends
How would you describe your personal style?
I am in love with the exotic and the ancient, with that romantic style we attach to the past. Everything I have done has been inspired by the gorgeous places I have lived and visited, by a sense of history, all the while keeping a strong connection with my aesthetic as a European.
Oudejans' home in Jaipur
What are some of the different ways in which India and the Netherlands influence your style, and how do you balance the two aesthetics?
I am Dutch; however, I spent most my life in Paris. If you think about Dutch design and aesthetic it is quite cold, minimal, and rational; whereas the French taste is one of play. This together with India’s love of color and outrageous ornamentation, well I could not ask for a more perfect marriage. Color color color, what more could I ask for?
Oudejans on Holi, the Indian festival of colors
Which city do you have an endless love affair with and why?
For me, my life really began in New York. I have lived all over— Paris, Madrid, Rome, Jaipur— but it was really New York that made everything possible. I started my first business, TOCCA, there and that was started all through the incredible serendipitous magic New York seems to singularly possess.
How has Jaipur influenced you creatively?
There is no place on Earth like Jaipur, no place where anything you dream has the potential to be realized so perfectly. For both Bar Palladio and Caffé Palladio, alongside my other interiors projects, we have customized entirely bespoke environments—from the etchings on glasses or the embroideries on pillows to the painting on walls or the prints on fabrics. We are in a city of master tailors, dyers, stonecarvers, jewelers and painters, so the possibility of creation is boundless. The city itself, its heritage, its history, these are the symbols from which I have developed my style; in a single word, the city is timeless.
Bar Palladio interiors
At the Mehrangarh Fort in Jaipur
What was the most challenging or exciting part of designing Caffé and Bar Palladio?
I love dreaming up a project. Building the mood board is my favorite part of the entire process. During this time I create huge collages to reflect the spirit, the mood, the history, the romance of the project. The most challenging part is it seems each project is made during the monsoon, and, honestly, I could not think of a worse time to attempt interiors projects. Endless rain, crushing humidity and mosquitoes, none of these are in the least pleasant.
A mood board for Caffé Palladio
Caffé Palladio interiors