MS2 Design Studio, Inc. is a full-service design firm that specializes in high-end residential design. The firm offers second-to-none services in custom built-in cabinetry, project management, unique wall, and floor coverings, innovative lighting systems, and custom furniture design.
Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio
While no one could have anticipated the unprecedented circumstances in which the world has found itself over the past two years, principal at MS2 Design, Michael Scigliano, reveals he designed his business to be able to function under any condition.
Haute Design: With the global pandemic going into its second full year, how has MS2 Design Studio adapted to this “new normal?” Was the beginning of the pandemic a particular shock in terms of business?
Michael Scigliano: Before opening MS2 Design Studio in 2010, the original business plan took into consideration the lessons that were learned from the previous firms that I had worked with. One firm had gone out of business because of the 2008 recession and the other because of conflicts with the partners. I made a conscious decision to keep our firm more boutique; therefore, eliminating the need for a large office space and the corresponding overhead.
Our team has always worked from home when possible and we meet when needed. This boutique design also kept us from bringing on too many employees and therefore, not needing too many projects at once. We’re able to hand-select the projects that challenge and interest us.
I’m humbled that MS2 Design Studio has thrived these past two years; having two of the best years in our history. This pandemic has negatively impacted so many companies and my heart goes out to all those that have fallen on hard times.
HD: What are some of the ways you have managed to maintain your high standards throughout all of this?
MS: Managing our high standards during the pandemic was actually easier than expected. Being stuck inside and having nothing else to concentrate on but work, made getting our job done much easier. There was literally nothing to do…but work. The beginning of the pandemic, March- May 2020, was surreal for everyone. Trying to make sure we were still taking care of our clients, while they were stuck in their own homes, helped to take the focus off being stuck at home ourselves.
HD: How have you managed client expectations throughout the pandemic?
MS: We’ve been blessed that our clients have been very understanding to the current situation. Being business owners themselves, they understood that the entire world was being affected and that those delays would impact their projects as well. Oddly enough, within the last year and a half, we finished a gut renovation in Miami Beach at the Continuum and a design project at 40 Bleecker in New York City, in record time. The team we’ve assembled has gone above and beyond to keep things on track.
HD: Given the amount of time folks have been forced to remain indoors, have any of your residential design plans changed?
MS: The biggest change we have noticed is that we have signed several new projects from clients moving to the Miami area from New York and California. The need to have a home with combined indoor and outdoor social areas became a necessity to see friends and family in a somewhat-safe environment. This made Miami more popular than ever. Add to that, major companies changing to “work from home” formats, living in a warm, open-air environment, just seemed like the best choice. The exploding Miami real estate market is a clear sign of that.
HD: What is the biggest takeaway you've gotten from these unprecedented times?
MS: My biggest takeaway from all this change, is that HOME is the most important place. It doesn’t matter how big your home is or how many things you have, but having a sanctuary where you feel safe and can detox from all that the world is throwing at you, is incredibly important. When you aren’t allowed outside or allowed to live a normal life, your home is where you gather with those you love. It’s the place you celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. The feeling of “being home and safe” has become paramount to our physical and mental well-being. And we get to design those spaces for our clients.
Photo Credit: MS2 Design Studio