Sabine Marcelis x USM

HNI Rotterdam, Netherlands

Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) unveils a connective space for research by award-winning designer Sabine Marcelis – featuring reused USM furniture from 1993.


Sabine Marcelis has transformed Het Nieuwe Instituut’s Research Centre through the reuse of its existing USM furniture and other innovative interventions. While the original design was primarily aimed at facilitating academic research on the National Collection for Architecture and Urban Planning, the new interior enables different types of use. Visitors are welcome to meet, work and learn more about the library, the collection, and the research of others.

Transparent interior design by Sabine Marcelis

Sabine Marcelis is known for her impressive designs using glass, light and resin, and was named Designer of the Year 2020 by Wallpaper magazine. Her design is based on the reuse of the existing furniture. The simple gesture of changing the materiality of the Study Centre transforms it from a dark and heavy space into a vibrant and light environment.


Instead of discarding the existing USM furniture, Marcelis reused it, updating the pieces with new panels of coloured glass. This has introduced a play of colour and transparency into the space. Resin elements are also used, and Marcelis has chosen to open up walls that were closed, so that more daylight enters the room, making it more inviting to enter.

A key role for USM furniture

The USM furniture, part of the Study Centre since its opening in 1993, has been almost completely reused in a contemporary way.


USM, long a presence in the Dutch market, has established many successful co-operations with renowned architectural and design studios. Co-operating on the transformation of the Research Centre of Het Nieuwe Instituut together with Sabine Marcelis Studio was a remarkable and enriching journey.