(Note: While our Founder’s Picks have featured individuals in the past, we are also using our regular column to introduce some of Switzerland’s most iconic brands to a wider audience, particularly to our followers in Southeast Asia)
Whenever people think about modern furniture, they usually think of sleek, modular, easy to assemble, and even easier to place items from companies like Ikea, Flexform, and B&B Italia. Indeed, it’s quite easy to assume that Sweden and Italy have been dominant players in the field.
That said, people tend to forget that Switzerland also boasts of its own design groups, particularly Vitra which has brought the world numerous eclectic creations like the iconic work of Charles and Ray Eames, as well as the sleek and elegant Panton dining chair.
But Vitra is not the only ace in Switzerland’s hand. Since 1885, USM Modular Furniture has been producing some of the finest examples of stylish and functional modular furniture for office and home use but also retail spaces or galleries.
An Unusual History
Headquartered in Münsingen, Switzerland, USM was established in 1885, its founder Ulrich Schaerer opened it as an ironworks producing gates and window fittings. Over time, however, the company expanded its production lines in order to boost the Swiss economy at the end of the Second World War.
In 1961, Ulrich's grandson Paul transformed USM into the modern enterprise it is today. Partnering with the renowned architect Fritz Haller, he first had the business' headquarters transformed into a more contemporary structure. Two years later, the collaborators came up with a signature line of modular furniture: the USM Haller System.
Meant for use in open-plan workspaces, these modular solutions provide optimal flexibility with shelving, storage, work surfaces, and partitions that are easy to assemble and arrange.
While USM has retained the classic look of its primary solution lines, it has kept in time with innovation. For example, those contemplating USM for the office or the home (the more colourful pieces for example look also great in a kids room), can use the Configurator, a 3D imaging program on the website that enables potential buyers to see how pieces will look in a space, how these may be arranged, and what accessories work best.
Sustainability also plays a role in the company's evolution. Every piece of USM furniture is vetted in compliance with environmental standards for manufacturing, design, and use. It is something that has won the company its certifications under the Greenguard and Cradle to Cradle ecological industry standards.
With its longstanding history and impeccable products, it isn't surprising that over 100 years since it first opened its doors, USM Modular Furniture is a brand the Swiss people can certainly be proud of.
Learn more about this fascinating Swiss furniture brand at https://www.usm.com/
Foto Credits: USM Instagram @usmmodularfurniture