Tailoring spaces with Angel O'Donnell
Meet Richard Angel and Ed O’Donnell and discover their uniquely fresh approach when designing environments, embracing customization at its finest. Drawing on multiple influences, personal, architectural and cultural, the two founders wisely use these stimuli to shape bespoke looks filled with handcrafted furniture, smart layouts, and compelling stories.
Since 2018, London-based interior design studio Angel O’Donnell has been creating unique schemes for private homes, heritage properties, luxury show apartments and vast, mixed-use developments around the world.
Led by its two co-founders, Richard Angel and Ed O’Donnell, the studio approaches every brief with fresh eyes, unhampered by a signature style. This gives them the freedom to tailor their plans to the unique personalities, aesthetic preferences, and functional needs of their clients. There is no universal procedure. Simply stunning, flawlessly executed custom designs.
Over the past few years, Angel O’Donnell earned a reputation for award-winning creativity, friendly collaboration, pin-sharp detailing, and consummate professionalism, becoming one of the UK’s most critically acclaimed interior design studios.
How did you first become involved in the world of design?
CEO and Co-Founder Richard Angel: From the moment I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor, my roots have been in bricks and mortar – valuing, examining and consulting on a wide range of real estate. A chunk of my career has been dedicated to advising The Crown Estate and UHNW individuals in Britain, North America, Asia and the Middle East. It’s all connected to design and, if you’re lucky, you meet a talented creative along the way whom you can build a successful interior design business with.
Creative Director and Co-Founder Ed O’Donnell: I’ve always been drawn to creativity – all aspects of it – from architecture and lighting to set design, product design, fashion and photography. But it was at Kingston, after finishing my Fine Art Foundation Year, that I realised I wanted to earn money and use my creativity in a more focused and professional way. As luck would have it, I landed a job right off the bat at a lovely boutique interior studio. My first assignment was assisting the Creative Director in the design and installation of Madonna’s London Mayfair townhouse…well, I’ve never looked back.
For us, craftsmanship is about quality and longevity. It’s neither faddist nor fleeting. Instead, it’s humanly endeared, one of a kind, and fundamental to our wellbeing.
How would you describe your personal style and what’s the personal signature that makes your projects unique?
CEO and Co-Founder Richard Angel: From the get-go, Ed and I knew that we didn’t want a signature style. Instead, we wanted to carve a niche for ourselves and present the world with a truly tailored design service. We promised that we would always treat each client individually and incorporate their personality, aesthetic tastes, and practical requirements into our designs. No one-size-fits-all process. No cookie-cutter style. Just beautiful, bespoke designs impeccably delivered.
Are there any specific trends that you’re currently blending in your practice?
Creative Director and Co-Founder Ed O’Donnell: Not ‘trends’ as such, but like a lot of people we’re always on the lookout for sustainable and ethically sourced products, small batch items that are rooted in traditional craft techniques. These pieces tend to bear the mark of their maker, where you can see and feel the brushstrokes, fingerprints and beautiful imperfections. These qualities will always outshine something machine-made and mass-produced, no matter how on-trend it is.
Where do you draw inspiration for your projects?
CEO and Co-Founder Richard Angel: I’m inspired when I meet a client for the first time and I instinctively know that we’re a good fit. You can just sense it from the way a person talks about their home – their likes and dislikes, the things they want to change, and all they hope to achieve by collaborating with a design team. When you vibe off each other like that, you know the project’s going to be a rewarding one.
Creative Director and Co-Founder Ed O’Donnell: Richard’s got a good gut instinct, so if he’s excited about a project, so am I. After that, creative inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it’s a building’s architecture, a location’s history, an awkward layout that needs resolving – or all the above. But at the end of the day, our clients will constantly be our initial source of inspiration. Sometimes, all you need is a client brief to sharpen the senses and produce something beautiful. I’m thinking of one client who tasked us with creating a quintessentially British pied-à-Terre inspired by London’s boutique hotels. Now that’s a gem of a brief. What more do you need?
What’s the decorative piece you enjoy selecting for your clients and why?
CEO and Co-Founder Richard Angel: Anything structural that transforms and elevates a space. It could be a handcrafted piece of joinery that zones a room, creates a new focal point, and changes the way a person or family connects to their environment.
Creative Director and Co-Founder Ed O’Donnell: I love small embellishments: a brushed fringe, a leather trim, a stud detail, a brass inlay – I could go on and on. It’s these tiny touches, the things you sweat over, that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. They’re details most people don’t necessarily anticipate – so they’re guaranteed to surprise and delight, which is what we’re here for.
What is your favourite project you have worked on and why?
CEO and Co-Founder Richard Angel: For me, the last project is always the favourite. We recently finished interior designing a beautiful three-bedroom apartment inside The OWO Residences, London’s former Old War Office. It’s a magnificent neo-baroque building which has been closed off to the public for over a century. When it reopens, it will reveal a gorgeous mix of luxury apartments, spas, bars, restaurants and a Five-Star Raffles Hotel. It’s such an ambitious project and I feel very proud that we’re part of it.
Do you have an interior design master that you look up to?
Creative Director and Co-Founder Ed O’Donnell: I admire William McIntosh. He’s one of the most versatile and surprising interior designers there is. No one project looks the same. One moment he’s channelling Baroque, the next he’s blending abstract Parisian influences into his schemes, or he’s mixing sharp geometric patterns with biophilic forms. He can do it all.
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