Introducing: Sarah McCall, Ongl Design + Make

Just Got Made • 16 Jun 2015

Ongl Design on Just Got Made

Sarah McCall is founder of Ongl Design + Make, a fabrication studio who specialise in creating spaces and places.

Sarah and the rest of the Ongl team – Simon, a carpenter and Dan, a production designer – have worked across many projects, including temporary structures at the Greenman Festival, sets for music videos and retail interiors.

Ongl’s combination of practical skills and great design caught our attention, so we decided to ask Sarah some questions and find out more about their practice and what drives them.

Hi Sarah! Can you explain what Ongl does in one sentence?

We design, make and fit dynamic solutions for retail interiors, café-bar interiors, exhibitions, pop-ups, and one-off features and furniture items.

Who is in your team and what roles do they have?

We’re a family-knit team brought together through our shared passion for design and craftsmanship, and a common desire to combine and apply our individual skills, knowledge and experiences to develop designs that are resourceful, innovative, sustainable and beautiful, from concept to completion.

As Ongl’s Founder + Interior Architectural Designer, I’m  joined by my Carpenter-Joiner brother, Simon McCall, and Production Designer-Painter other-half, Dan Morgan. But the family connections don’t stop there….. We (Sarah and Simon) and our sister Suzy (who is there on the sidelines keeping paperwork in check) are the offspring of third generation (we’re the fourth generation if we decide to go down that route) McCall family owned business, Towy Works Builders Merchants Ltd in our hometown Carmarthen.

“Having been brought up around tools, screws, and all things building – construction must run in our blood!”

Our design work is done from our studio in Cardiff and our Carpentry and Painting work is done from our workshop in Carmarthenshire – an urban-countryside balance that is working really well for us. We make as much of what we design in-house as we can, and we of course purchase as much of the materials we use to make things as we can from Towy Works. Anything outside of our in-house skillset then we work with our tried and tested network of trades, suppliers and specialists so that we can be sure that our projects are realized to the highest possible standard, using the best and most appropriate materials and processes for the job.

How should people approach you with an idea?

People can contact us by phone, direct email, via contact form on our website, or via direct message on our Facebook page or Twitter. All we need is a summary of what you’d like to talk to us about; then from there we offer an initial consultation free of charge (either in person or over skype) to discuss your needs and our services in more detail, and we’ll go from there!

Who is your dream client?

Our strapline is “shaping ideas into spaces” – and so our dream client really is anyone who has an idea, a space or both and who recognizes the value of good design. By tapping into our expertise and engaging our services, we work with our clients to take ideas to the next level and making a space the best it can be.

Ideas tend to sprout from our client – it’s then our job to grow those ideas, nurture them, prune and preen them into physical, spatial form.

“I suppose we consider our clients to be collaborators as much as anything”

in that whether we’re dealing with retail interiors, café-bar interiors, exhibitions, pop-ups, workplaces or one-off features and furniture items; our starting point is always to develop an understanding of who and what we’re designing for and then shaping those ideas and findings into spaces and places that are both functional and beautiful, and that evoke a sense of identity and belonging for the people and objects which inhabit them.

I saw the Welsh language footer etc on your emails – do you think being a Welsh company adds something your work / business?

We recognised quite early on that as fluent Welsh speakers (as well as English of course!) living and working in Wales that ‘Welshness’ for want of a better word was as important to Ongl’s identity as it was to our own individual identities.

Our ability to offer our services through the medium of English or Welsh across all stages of a project’s delivery sets us apart from other design and make companies particularly as governmental investment in the provision of bilingual and Welsh language initiatives is ever growing, (no more so than in Cardiff, Wales’ capital city where our design studio is based) and we’re finding that Welsh speaking companies and organisation are keen to work with us because of our ability to tailor our service in this way.

“‘Ongl’ is Welsh for ‘Angle’ – it’s pronounceable whatever language you speak and I think captures in two short sharp syllables what we’re all about!”

Visit Ongl Design + Make’s full profile

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Visit Ongl Design + Make’s full profile