Elegance comes in many forms. One is the casual elegance achieved by some of the most stylish residential apartments. This kind of elegance may appear effortless, but it can be hard to achieve - and impossible to imitate.
The interior designers at Mazen Studio know just how much effort can go into seemingly effortless design. The studio specialises in work spaces that emulate that kind of homegrown elegance. As a result, the team knows a thing or two about the benefits to employee satisfaction and creativity that can be reaped from inviting and comfortable work environments.
Mazen’s own Toronto office, designed by Creative Director Mazen el-Abdallah, is the embodiment of this genre-blending design philosophy. “I wanted a space which felt like you were entering a private apartment,” says el-Abdallah. He achieved this vision in large part through his choices of furniture - a mix of new, bespoke and vintage pieces to create a feeling of refined warmth and a sense of history. The combined effect of the furnishings is to make employees, visitors and clients feel instantly at home and relaxed when entering the office.
“[The USM furniture] is a constant reminder that good design has a long lifespan and can adapt to cultural and lifestyle changes.”
- Mazen el-Abdallah, Creative Director of Mazen
The core of Mazen’s vision is a suite of USM Haller furniture. The function of USM Haller pieces in Mazen’s office is twofold. Firstly, as icons of modern design in their own right, they flawlessly fulfil Mazen’s brief for a classic and timeless work environment. Secondly, the clean lines and smooth minimalism of the USM Haller pieces form the perfect backdrop for the rest of Mazen’s collection of classic furniture. The vintage pieces’ mix of textures - varnished wood, soft carpeting and leather upholstery - is both complemented and highlighted by the precisely machined steel and colour-and-chrome finish of the USM Haller pieces.
Mazen’s USM Haller suite includes USM Haller tables finished in a smooth grey linoleum, kept clean and minimalist with a minimum of customisable features. Beneath each desk is a USM Haller storage unit finished in a matching anthracite grey and mounted on wheels for easy reorganisation and adaptability.
Also finished in smooth anthracite grey is the statement piece in the suite: a large USM Haller storage unit that does double duty. With a mix of display panels and functional drawers, it serves as the office’s main library, storing files and displaying catalogues, sample materials and a variety of inspiring objects. It also functions as a room divider, separating the main office from a kitchen area, providing neat and robust zoning without compromising the open feel of the space.
In addition to providing the cornerstone of his aesthetic vision, and thereby underscoring the office’s open and relaxed atmosphere, the USM Haller furniture had another feature that drew El-Abdallah’s attention: the time-proofed adaptability. El-Abdallah wanted to install furniture that could evolve as the studio’s needs changed: “I didn’t want to invest in a system that would be discontinued in 15 years.” In fact, the main shelving unit which is now four shelves wide started out life as a three-shelf-wide unit - El-Abdallah added the additional modules to accommodate the additional storage needs associated with a growing staff. Happily, the USM Haller system will continue to grow as Mazen’s staff does.
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