Michilli : The Luxurious Side of Construction

Kierron RoseMichael SommerfieldLucy Pilgrim
Kierron Rose - Project Manager Michael Sommerfield - Project Manager Lucy Pilgrim - Senior Editor

Michilli is renowned in the New York fashion industry and beyond for its stunning construction feats. President, Angelo Michilli, reveals the secret to its success and his aims to branch out into new sectors such as hospitality, medical, and commercial.

THE LUXURIOUS SIDE OF CONSTRUCTION

Ever since childhood, Angelo Michilli, President of Michilli, was destined to be part of the construction industry, as his family background in the trade heavily shaped his future career choices. 

Angelo grew up in a family of craftsmen, ironworkers, and artisans from Italy. He specifically spent his childhood working alongside his father as he honed his craft as a detailed and ornamental metal worker. 

In fact, highlights of Angelo’s younger years working with his father included internal repairs for the iconic Statue of Liberty in New York, between 1985 and 1986, after he finished school.   

“I grew up with the idea of creativity and artisanship, which has caused me to appreciate the details in construction,” Angelo reflects. 

“I think it was a natural step for me to go into engineering and enter into something where I could be creative and build impressive structures designed with a certain approach and logic.” 

Against the backdrop of the illustrious New York landscape, Angelo was inspired to take flight and start his own company. Subsequently, he opened a business in 1994 known as Tectonics that had a heavy design-build approach. 

Followingthe success of Tectonics, Angelo established Michilli in 1999, with the sole purpose of being a general contractor and builder. A further differentiator from his previous enterprise was the devotion to both well-loved and up-and-coming fashion houses in Madison Avenue, New York, and  
elsewhere across the US.  

In the beginning, the company started as a design-build boutique contractor serving retail clients. Subsequently, these clients engaged Michilli to construct their upscale private residences. 

“Many of these individuals had projects that they were completing on a personal level, so we would often get commissioned to build up their homes or summer houses,” Angelo recalls.

SPECIALIZED BOUTIQUE BUILDER

Today, Michilli has evolved to be a specialized boutique builder. 

After suffering disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was forced to reduce its staff base from approximately 100 to 60. In response to this, Michilli aims to diversify as much as possible in order to hold presence in adjacent sectors. 

This can be accomplished, given that Michilli has locations nationwide, with primary offices in New York, supplemented by secondary offices on the West Coast, specifically in Los Angeles, and a satellite office in San Jose. 

“We enjoy projects that are refined and detail-orientated, requiring a lot of attention to what we call value engineering, where we offer suggestions to clients to help make the project more cost-effective,” Angelo highlights. 

Celebrating its 25th year in business the company has established a broad and enduring presence during this time and has observed how technological changes in both the fashion and construction industries have impacted its operations. 

“The technology we used in the 1990s is nowhere near as quick as the ways in which information is processed today, such as sending an update via email or holding an international meeting via video call. Executing the whole process in a way that you can maximize the use of technological advances is certainly the biggest change,” Angelo informs us. 

These factors majorly contribute to Michilli’s three expectations – quality, schedule, and budget – which have only increased in demand since the company’s inception. 

“There’s always an aspect of speed in our building, which is totally different from the 1990s when the timing was a little more forgiving. 

“However, our efficiency distinguishes us and gives us the confidence to provide the best service at the correct price.”   

Despite the greater demand, Michilli’s ability to deliver on these three expectations remains the same. 

Indeed, Michilli endeavors to maintain the 5-star quality it has become known for by completing projects ahead of schedule and meeting the strict deadlines of New York’s real estate landscape. 

Most importantly, the company ensures that each project is not only cost-effective, but also of premium quality to match the high standard of its luxury brands.

FORGING EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS

Such a high degree of construction prowess is achieved by being as physically involved in a project as is feasibly possible.  

“Over 20 years of national experience provides us with an eye on all markets and an understanding of how to navigate through different municipalities across the US.”  

Therefore, by having a proactive and passionate approach to each project, Michilli forms long-standing partnerships both at home and internationally. As a result, the company is familiar with a variety of markets across the country, including California, Florida, and Texas, all with diverse expectations and building processes. 

Since most of Michilli’s projects are generated through word-of-mouth, the success of the business is dependent on its client relationships, particularly in the high-end retail space. 

Typically, the company is awarded a certain brand due to the history of trust and confidence that it has cultivated, as well as the successful completion of projects and the positive rapport it has built with the people behind some of the world’s biggest fashion houses. 

“Whether we are working for fashion houses like Gucci, Acne Studios, or Tod’s, it ultimately comes down to the relationship between the management team, the client, and the architect who designs the project,” Angelo details.   

This ensures client base loyalty, demonstrated by the fact that Michilli has many repeat clients, working with individuals who have transferred to a different company or sector. 

“Historically, we try to encourage this cycle by offering concierge treatment to our clients, which has proven to work well.”

“Whether we are working for fashion houses like Gucci, Acne Studios, or Tod’s, it ultimately comes down to the relationship between the management team, the client, and the architect who designs the project”

Angelo Michilli, President, Michilli

OVERCOMING DIFFICULTY

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that Michilli had to restructure the organization to adapt to the stagnation of work, with the major redundancy of staff taking place in the New York and LA offices.  

Michilli is looking to invest into reinvigorating its presence in the West Coast and building up the East Coast as a pursual of its disrupted plans pre-pandemic.  

In continuation of the company’s positive expansion, it has reflected on the aspects of the business that worked well, alongside the challenges that occurred, allowing Michilli to improve on previous decisions and maximize efficiency.  

Post-pandemic, the company is also selective with the clients it chooses to work with.  

“I believe that we offer a service that is of a certain quality, and we like to know that we are offered the same high quality in our relationships with architects, clients, and engineers,” Angelo emphasizes. 

To this end, Michilli’s wider supply chain difficulties have greatly eased in recent years, as it utilizes imports from across the world. For instance, the company sources materials globally, importing stone and metal from countries such as Italy, Turkey, China, France, and the UK. 

“Supplier restraints have improved tremendously over the past 18 months, as the market is coming to more of an equilibrium compared to where it was prior to the pandemic, and the bettering of prices reflects that,” Angelo adds. 

He further cites improvements in the supply chain, which he attributes to the company’s reliance on human relationships. This also gives Michilli the ability to navigate any future disruptions in the supply chain, whilst expressing to its clients how to prioritize certain elements that require longer lead times and streamlining.

Going forward, the company hopes to expand its repertoire by strengthening its partnerships with clients and designers through organic relationship building. 

“We rely on conversations, meetings, and informal chats, which are the essence of how we bring in new work and how these relationships are built,” Angelo explains. 

Through the bridging of new partnerships, Michilli can continue diversifying into different sectors, looking at hospitality and medical work specifically. This correlates with Angelo’s previous experience in medical fit-outs for hospitals. 

“I would love to get back into it because it’s so detail-orientated, but in a different type of way in terms of all the intricacies that go into hospital and clinical build-outs,” he adds. 

Meanwhile, Michilli will continue to market itself for the high-end retail and residential markets, as an increased number of different partnerships open up opportunities for the company. 

“As we are so relationship-based, it’s just the case of getting our voice out there and winning one or two projects, which will quickly turn into seven or eight. This opens up a whole new world, but we have the resources and dedication to handle it,” concludes Angelo.

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By Kierron Rose Project Manager
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Kierron Rose is Project Manager showcasing innovation and corporate success stories. Kierron works with c-suite executives, industry titans and sector disruptors to bring you exclusive features from the Construction, Engineering, Property, and Real Estate sectors across North America.
By Michael Sommerfield Project Manager
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Michael Sommerfield is a Project Manager at North America Outlook Magazine. Michael is responsible for sourcing and bringing together corporate stories from the Automotive, Aerospace, Defence, and Maritime sectors across North America.