While some of us barely know how to keep a potted plant alive, Valerio Morano Sagliocco and his team ensure that many hotels, residential developments and other businesses never have to worry about the loss of their green – or whatever color they’re supposed to be – luster.
Landscaping requires more tender care than the non-living décor of a hotel. That’s where the landscapers and irrigation technicians of New York-based Morano Group come in.
The third-generation, family-owned and operated attention and care for ornate landscape work has been featured in the pages of Architecture Digest. But Morano Group has since expanded into the commercial sector, including several hotel projects like the Peninsula Hotel in New York, the St. Regis Residences in Rye, NY, and several Arlo Hotels and Sonder properties in New York.
The CEO of the Morano Group, Valerio Morano Sagliocco, took over the company created by his grandfather 15 years ago. He is now leading the company through an era of significant expansion.
“I moved to Manhattan about 10 years ago, and I wanted to tackle a lot of projects that I saw coming up, and I wanted to take advantage of the building boom,” he said in an interview with Skift. “The town really started to erupt several years ago.”
Sagliocco, 38, cultivated a partnership with Miami-based indoor plant design company Plant the Future, where the Florida-based company would design the landscaping or greenery, and the Morano Group would build and install it. would maintain.
The construction and ongoing maintenance of some of these creations, from the vertical gardens on the walls of a Manhattan coworking space to the plants and terraces on the roof of a Sonder in New York’s Battery Park, is as much a form of art than design. job.
“People want to feel surrounded by nature, in a way. They want to feel like they’re bringing the outdoors to them,” Sagliocco said. “The bottom line is that plants make people happy. This is what people are looking for: getting away from their usual routine and being surrounded by nature.
The Morano Group is still a family business: Sagliocco’s brother runs one of the company’s two garden centers while his father “supervises everything from a broad brushstroke,” Sagliocco said.
Other partnerships flourished as more people took notice of the Morano Group’s work around Manhattan. Prior to the pandemic, the team worked on the Peninsula Hotel’s vacation facilities, a high-exposure job but with little margin for error: one night to do the interior work and another night to do the exterior work. . Five-star service means keeping the holiday decor elves out of sight of guests.
“It’s a very exhausting process because you have a very, very tight window of time in the middle of the night for that to happen. We’re basically like ninjas trying to do this stuff,” Sagliocco said. 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. is when you have to come in.”
The pandemic has rolled back the company’s momentum, as with most businesses that cater to hospitality customers. Supply chain issues have hit the landscaping industry hard, as farmers have temporarily stopped planting the materials that keep this industry going – and it’s not just about turning the machines back on in a factory to catch up. There is now a gap in the size of trees available due to the gap in planting and growth during the pandemic. The landscaping industry has also been grappling with rising material costs for things like wood used to build decks.
“It was like a punch for all of our clients, designers, architects and ourselves,” said Sagliocco. “We were brought to a standstill and we weren’t able to do what we are normally able to do.”
But that doesn’t stop the company from considering further expansion. Sagliocco and his team learned to move forward with available materials and landed some major new business. Upcoming work includes landscape installations for a Four Seasons in Miami as well as another further north in Surfside, Florida.
The company is opening offices in Palm Beach and Miami, and Sagliocco is also considering further expansion into markets like California and the Hamptons.
“I always say to my employees: don’t come to me with a problem without some solutions or potential solutions,” Sagliocco said. “We try to figure things out without compromising on quality – even with a design, we find solutions and keep it moving. That’s always the goal. »