Michael Scigliano Reveals What Sets MS2 Design Studio Apart From The Competition

Michael Scigliano | MS2 Design Studio

Share this Post!

Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio

Originally founded in 1998 in New York City, MS2 Design Studio, Inc. is a full-service design firm that specializes in high-end residential design. The firm specializes in custom built-in cabinetry, project management, unique wall, and floor coverings, innovative lighting systems, and custom furniture design, while always looking to the future for the newest materials yet still staying true to the classics. With a combined 30 years of design experience, you can be assured that MS2 Design Studio will help you create the home of your dreams.

MS2 Design Studio's Principal, Michael Scigliano, recently took the time to sit down with Haute Design to discuss a range of topics including lessons he has learned in the design industry and what he believes sets MS2 Design Studio apart.

Haute Design: What was your first experience in interior design? How did it go?

Michael Scigliano: My first job in interior design was with J. Robert Scott in NYC. I was the assistant to the showroom manager. I got the job offer after touring the D&D with a designer who befriended me and took the time to walk me through the building. I had no formal training, so to be offered a position with one of the top furniture designers was beyond what I could have hoped for.

That experience shaped the rest of my career and life. I learned about textiles, veneers, furniture construction, space planning, and how to combine colors, all from the best in the field. All of the top designers shopped at J. Robert Scott, so I got the chance to meet them and interact with them on their projects. The projects I was blessed to have worked on would always show up in publications and that was a very rewarding experience.

Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio 

HD: What are three major lessons you've learned since then?

MS: The top three lessons I learned are:

  • You can be a talented designer but if you do not possess good people skills, your career will go nowhere. Most projects include two spouses who are building their dream home. Each with their own personality and approach to the design process. Not to mention the children, the architect, the contractor (and their subs), the A/V company, the pool and landscape designers. So, the majority of your day is making conversation and discussing design. If you are unable to convey your design and manage all the personal relationships that come along with making your design become reality, you will never make it in this field.


  • You are your brand. Your projects are an expression and an extension of your personal style and the way you live your life, is part of that expression. The places you travel, the people you surround yourself with, the way you treat your body and mind, the charities you support, etc., this all becomes part of your company's brand.


  • Lighting can make or break your project. The amount of lighting, the fixtures, the aperture, the temperature, the angle, all of this in unison can make a project shine (no pun intended). A talented lighting designer is a crucial part of any high-end project. Light can change the shape of a room, the mood it conveys and the overall experience.

HD: You design in both Miami and New York. What are the starkest differences in terms of designing in either city?

MS: The first major difference that comes to mind is scale. The scale in Florida is big. The homes are larger, the rooms are larger, common areas are larger, the land they sit on is larger. Everything is big. Even the larger homes in NYC tend to have smaller scale rooms, which leads to smaller scale furnishings.

That said, considering that Miami is NYC's unofficial sixth burrow, the aesthetic of our modern clientele is similar. They all tend to like edited, open spaces, with integrated features and a neutral palate. This combination brings to life a modern home which is interesting to be in and cozy enough to enjoy.

Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio

HD: Designers tend to say that the customer is always right and that they design for the client rather than for themselves. Would you say that part of your work subconsciously reflects who you are? If so, do you believe this to be the case with all designers?

MS: The comment I hear most when interviewing with a potential client is that the designer they worked with in the past, or previously interviewed with, did not listen to them. I hear this all the time. I've processed that comment and have tried to do my best to do the exact opposite for my clients. By the end of our time together, they need to be happy in their new home. I make this known to them from our initial interaction.

I do listen and I do my best to include as many of their ideas as possible. At the end of the day, it's an MS2 Design Studio project and it reflects my vision for the client but it also includes their personalities. Sometimes, this might be a personality the clients themselves did not know they possessed. That's the fun part of designing for a client that trusts the designer's judgement and experience. The client gets something that blows away their expectations.

Is the client always right? No. I have had ideas passed by me which I would never allow in an MS2 project. Part of being a design professional, is to teach your clients what works and what does not work. This knowledge was earned through decades of experience. A designer cannot expect their client to have the same knowledge as them, and therefore, when ideas which we know will not work are expressed to us, it is our job to explain why.

HD: What sets MS2 Design Studio apart from other design firms?

MS: Going back to the previous question, I would say that the biggest thing that sets MS2 Design Studio apart from other firms is that we truly listen to our clients. We are not pushing our own agenda. Yes, we want to design an amazing interior for each client and we want to express our vision (which we always do), but in doing so, we listen to our clients and we incorporate their ideas along with our design concept.


Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio

Related post