Designer in Profile: Richard Angel & Ed O’Donnell, Co-founders of Angel O’Donnell Ltd

Name: Richard Angel & Ed O’DonnellAngel O’Donnell
Company: Angel O’Donnell Ltd
Position within company: Co-founders

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
Angel O’Donnell is the brainchild of Richard Angel and Ed O’Donnell.

Richard is a qualified chartered surveyor who has designed and built a number of ultra-high value, central London residential projects, from listed buildings with retained facades through to fifty storey towers and everything in between! He loves the creative side and the challenge of producing a space that is not only fit for purpose but also an amazing home, overcoming the commercial challenges that go hand in hand with property design.

Ed had always intended to be a graphic designer but found that field too restrictive so, following a post-graduation stint travelling the world, he became general assistant at an interior design studio, driving around London in a small van delivering lamps and furniture. Discovering a true love for that environment and having undertaken a mixture of mentoring and extra courses at Chelsea College he was given more responsibility as a designer and worked for a few studios over the years in increasingly senior roles on both private and developer projects.

How would you describe your personal design style?
Our signature style is to create bold, tailored interiors for cultured and modern clientele with a strong sense of style. We pride ourselves on listening to clients, interpreting their brief to ensure it’s absolutely right and offering straight-talking advice!

We like to focus on mid-century styles with touches of the 21st century and enjoy incorporating the darker side of colour and layered patterns.

We strive to celebrate the best of British craftsmanship in all our projects, drawing on our little black book of artists and curators to enhance the spaces we work on, whether that be with a painting, photography, sculpture or textiles.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
Our inspiration is often driven by the architecture of the spaces we are working in, be it the room itself or the whole building.
Travel and the different ways in which people live, the materials, colours and patterns we experience both in the UK and in other cultures helps to inform the various projects we work on.
As fans of the arts and theatre we derive inspiration from craftsmen and artists, especially in terms of new textures and finishes which we can incorporate into our work. We particularly love Studio Ashby and Kit Kemp.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Most definitely towards personalisation and encouraging the client to find their own voice and sense of style, rather than dictating what that style should be. It’s something that’s at the core of our approach and whilst we’re always happy to make suggestions, we like to encourage our clients to share their visions with us as fully as possible so we can work together to realise exactly what they have in mind.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.
1. Statement pieces; such as murals or feature walls which tell a personal story
2. The marriage of function and form; especially when it comes to lighting, matching the right tone with eye-catching design to create harmony in living spaces where clients can retreat from the world and feel at peace.
3. Richer, more vibrant colours; helping clients to express an emotion in a room through the bold use of colour both in paint / paper and in coordinated furnishings
4. Botanics; whether it’s bringing the outdoors indoors with potted plants and living walls or printed wallpapers in elaborate floral patterns. In today’s world where demands on our time are constantly increasing, and the challenge of switching off our screens and stepping away from the world becomes ever more difficult, we focus on the interaction between design and mental health, striving to give our clients respite and breathing space.
5. Sustainability, a definite desire to fully understand where materials and objet have come from, the production process and the carbon footprint involved

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Commercially if it’s for a developer or investor then make sure that you create your scheme with the end user in mind. We all have personal taste, but you need to think about appeal to the broader market.

If it’s your own home – don’t be bound by rules or trends and don’t be afraid of colour.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
Anything that can raise the profile and importance of our industry is fantastic and the IDAA are seen as highly influential. It’s also great to reward hard work with recognition for your efforts and the Awards are, rightly, a major consideration for clients when they’re choosing a designer to work with. If you have the winner logo displayed on your website / social media, it immediately lets clients know that you’re one of the best!

What projects are you currently working on?
A private penthouse in Shoreditch
Two show apartments in Canary Wharf
A significant build-to-rent scheme in London
A multi-unit residential development in Soho
A pied-a-terre in Fitzrovia

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Build on our huge early success.
Win the International Design and Architecture Awards
Become the ‘go to’ name when it comes to residential design
Travel more!

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
Richard: My London cityscape painting by Sacha Jafri
Ed: My Legier labradorite signet ring (gift from my partner)

Your favourite holiday destination?
Richard: The Balearics
Ed: South Africa

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Richard: Ham Yard Hotel / Twist at Crawford Street / The Martini Bar at Duke’s Hotel St. James
Ed: Nomad NYC, Bocca di Lupo, Cotton House Hotel Barcelona

Your favourite book, film & song?
Richard: Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson, Superbad, anything by Jamiroquai!
Ed: The Goldfinch, Interstellar, Into the Groove

Your favourite food and drink?
Richard: Fresh fish washed down with a Puligny Montrachet
Ed: Steak tartare and a classic Negroni

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Richard: At the beach with my wife and kids
Ed: Long walk and lazy lunch by the Thames

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Richard: a fighter pilot!
Ed: a singer

Anything else interesting?
Richard: I’m co-owner of a hotel!
Ed: I used to ballroom dance and once worked with Madonna

Angel O’Donnell Ltd