Since 2001, O’Donnell O’Neill Design has been specialising in experiential and atmospheric interior design solutions for the hospitality industry. November saw the company scoop two awards at the Fit Out Awards at the Convention Centre in Dublin, so Building Ireland learned more from co-managing director Ann-Marie O’Neill.
2018 ended in style for O’Donnell O’Neill Design as its double success at the seventh annual Fit Out Awards was dubbed as simply “fantastic” by company co-founder Ann-Marie O’Neill.
Headquartered in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, with an additional office in Belfast, O’Donnell O’Neill Design is a dynamic and creative interior architecture and design studio which is fast approaching 20 years since its inception.
The firm was founded by business partners Graham O’Donnell and Ann-Marie O’Neill and has become renowned for its work in the hospitality industry.
Building Ireland caught up with Ann-Marie recently to learn about the company which is currently employing 20 staff between both offices and seemingly growing year on year.
“We work throughout the Island of Ireland and the UK and every year we design a couple of projects in the United States also,” explained the co-director.
“We’re interior designers and interior architects and we specialise in commercial interior design, we do a little bit of retail design but mostly we’re known for our work in the hospitality industry.”
O’Donnell O’Neill Design’s recent work in the US was what won the company the Fit Out International Project of the Year.
The project itself was The Rag Trader and Bo Peep Cocktail & Highball Store in New York, with the Manhattan business opening its doors late last year.
It was another impressive string in the bow of O’Donnell O’Neill Design – a company which has managed to gain itself a glowing reputation in a relative short space of time and also be critically influential in benchmarking the highest standards of design for the social scene.
Looking forward to the New Year ahead, Ann-Marie couldn’t be much more optimistic about the next 12 months to come.
“It’s looking great going into 2019. We get some amazing, high-profile projects to work on here,” she enthused.
“We’re very driven by good design and it’s looking very good and positive for next year. We just recently completed work on the Devlin Hotel in Ranelagh, Isabella’s Restaurant on South Ann Street in Dublin, The Grayson Dublin, Crow Street Restaurant Dublin, Elephant & Castle Rathmines and the River Club Bar & Grill Room at the River Lee Hotel in Cork.
“This is always a busy time when we’re approaching the end of the year and the big thing for us is always maintaining the standard throughout a project.”
All of the projects completed by O’Donnell O’Neill Design can be viewed on the company’s excellent website – ooda.ie – which reflects the high standard set by founders Ann-Marie and Graham and their team of talented designers.
Since partnering up to set-up their business 18 years ago, they have continued to push the boundaries of design and creativity every day and strive to create concepts that are unique and break the mould.
Ask Ann-Marie what it is she feels sets the company apart from other competitors out there and she’ll put it to you plainly.
“I think we have a proven track record in commercial interior design projects and we are known for creating innovative interior spaces that add a lot of value to our clients ventures,” she stated.
“Attention to detail is also very important to us and we’re proud to be part of the success of a project – the design of it.”
Upon opening their office in Dun Laoghaire back in ’01, Ann-Marie and Graham also took the decision to set-up design studios in Belfast. These studios are today headed up by Gordon Devenney, who shares the same vision as the two founders as well as their passion to be different, according to Ann-Marie.
It turned out a wise move as business had been flying in both departments until the recession kicked in around 2008/09 and it was the Belfast office which really helped to see the company steer through what were some tough times for the industry.
“It had been flying up until around then but the fact that we had the Belfast office helped us,” Ann-Marie outlined.
“I found them to be very interesting times and as a company we kept busy, in fact I feel we produced some of our most innovative design projects during those times.”
Described as a “satellite hub” on the company’s website, the Belfast base allows O’Donnell O’Neill Design to deliver an attentive service and creative design solutions to its clients in both Northern Ireland and mainland UK.
On November 1st the Convention Centre in Dublin was where the heads of O’Donnell O’Neill Design where stationed as they recorded a double triumph at the 2018 Fit Out awards which won’t be soon forgotten by anyone involved in the firm.
A black tie gala where the cream of the country’s fit out industry are both recognised and celebrated, the awards are unique opportunity to network with the most influential in the industry.
On the night, O’Donnell O’Neill Design was up for seven awards in total and took home International Project of the Year, as well as Fit Out Designer of the Year – an award personally given to Ann-Marie herself.
“I think it’s important for our work and company to be recognised and it’s the reason why we step back and enter these. It’s important our profile and, of course, the staff.
“It was a fantastic. We were very chuffed to win the two awards, especially among our peers in such a huge venue.
“Hopefully for next year (2019) we will keep getting the type of project that we’ve been getting and keep growing the way we have been too.”
The way things have been going so far for this successful and innovative venture, who’d bet against it?
O’Donnell O’Neill Design
1 Upper George’s Street
Tel: +353 1 230 0066
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, February 2019, Vol 5 No 2