Q&A with Ongl | Interior Design Interview

By February 14, 2018Interior Design, interview

Ongl Design+Make was founded in 2014 by Sarah McCall-Morgan. They’re a Cardiff-based contemporary interior design company that develops and delivers custom interior solutions for commercial and residential clients nationally.

We were drawn to Ongl due to their ability to cater for a variety of styles from clients such as high schools all the way through to notable names throughout the country. Their client base includes some big names such as Evan James, Cardiff Caerdydd and On Par Productions. Ongl have a great team that combines art, design, carpentry, joinery and most of all – a passion to deliver the narrative of a space.

How did your interior design career begin?

My focus at school had always been on the Sciences with a view to going on
to study to be a Doctor. I got the grades I needed at A-Level and had
secured a place to study Medicine at Univeristy; but something didn’t sit
right. I wasn’t excited about it at all, and soon I realised that the real
problem was that I wasn’t truly passionate about becoming a doctor – I was
just kind of going along with it, because I could. At a loss of what to do next,
I decided to spend a year at art college, doing a Foundation Diploma in Art
and Design. As a kid I was always doing arts and crafts – I loved being
creative but had put it on the back burner to focus on the more ‘academic’
subjects at school. That year was a game changer for me. I found what I
was passionate about – 3D Design, Sculpture, Architecture, Making,
Creating. So I went on to study Interior Architecture at Cardiff, loved every
second of it, graduated with a first class honours and then, well, the rest is

What inspired you to start up Ongl?

After graduating, and before Ongl, I spent 6 years working for various
companies to build up experience in the Interior Architectural Design
industry. I worked as an Exhibition Designer for a company in Bordeaux;
went on to work as an Interior Designer for a commercial Architecture firm
in Cardiff; then a small experimental design studio in Tenby; and finally
settled back in Cardiff as a Design Draughtsperson for a set production
company. The thing with Interior Architectural Design is that it’s such a vast
field; and I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many facets of it; so that
when it came to setting up Ongl I had a really clear idea of what approach
we would take. My family have also been crucial in inspiring the way Ongl
was formed. My husband is also a Designer, my brother a Carpenter, and
my father a third generation Director of a Builders’ Merchant, Towy Works,
in my home town of Carmarthen. Ongl is the culmination of all of the above
– a desire to apply learnt skills; a honed design approach and ethos; and
collaborate with others to design and implement meaningful, functional,
beautiful spaces for people and businesses to thrive in.

What's the most exciting and/or most successful project you've worked on to date?

Since setting up Ongl in 2014 we’ve had the opportunity to work with a
wide variety of clients, designing all sorts of spaces – Cafes, Bars, Shops,
Exhibitions, Installations, Community Spaces, Homes. I can honestly say
that every project we have taken on holds a special place in our heart, but if
I had to pick out the pivotal ones then Home byKirsty, Yr Hen Lyfrgell and

the Learning Lounge at Willows High School are up there. Home byKirsty
was the first official Ongl project – a retail interior design and fitout for a
design-led homeware and lighting shop. Yr Hen Lyfrgell was the biggest
project we’d taken on at the time – a full interior scheme for a multi-use
venue (Café-Bar, Shop, Offices, Conference space, Teaching Rooms) in a
Grade II listed former library in the heart of Cardiff city-centre. The Learning
Lounge at Willows High School has been one of the most humbling – a
design project that began as an educational tool to inspire pupils with an
interest in perusing a career within the built environment – and culminated
in the full refurbishment of the community centre attached to the school.

How often do you incorporate seasonal trends into your interiors? If non - what inspires you in the process?

I wouldn’t say we follow seasonal trends. Our approach is founded on the
premise that aesthetic beauty evolves from a thoughtful response to the
functional requirements of a brief, the narrative of spaces, engagement
with their users, and the use of honest materials, finishes and details.
Whenever we’re designing something, we’re always thinking about how it
can be achieved, how it will be constructed, what the junctions and the
fixings will be. Over the years we’ve become recognised for our distinctive
Ongl style – bold, contemporary, honest interiors; using shape, form, colour
and texture, letting the qualities of materials do the talking – teaming our
custom designs and makes with carefully curated selections of products,
furniture and furnishings; resulting in clean, cutting-edge interiors that fit
and evolve with their users.

What's your take on plantation shutters for interior design?

Things we look for in the products that we choose for our interiors are
simplicity, contemporary, refined design pieces, that aren’t trying to look like
something they’re not – fixtures, fitting and furnishings that know and are
confident in their function and so ooze beauty thanks to their carefully
considered form, materiality and fixing details. Plantation shutters fall
comfortably into the Ongl criteria!

How would you sum up your individual style in a sentence?

Contemporary, Abstract, Scandinavia inspired design that looks as good in
reality as it did on the drawing board.

Do you have anything exciting coming up for 2018?

2018 is set to be our busiest year yet, with lots of exciting projects in progress
and on the horizon – including a Dental Practice, a Live Music Venue, an office
refurb and private residences – all awaiting the Ongl touch

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