Having worked in the fashion industry his entire career, Craig Ford is a man with an acute sense of design. His career includes working with Duffer of St George and Japanese streetwear brand, A Bathing Ape – which approached him to open the company’s first business outside Asia – before becoming the distributor for Billionaire Boys Club, both through his own company, a number of names* (or anon* for short).
While his work life is dominated by street style, at home things are slightly different. He lives in a ground floor maisonette of London’s Bevin Court – a modernist housing scheme designed after the Second World War under the aegis of architect Berthold Lubetkin. As a result he decided to buy an Ercol-manufactured dining table and chairs for his living room. ‘I thought if someone was living in this place in the ’50s, what is the authentic furniture to have?’ I came up with Ercol.’ However, it’s the USM units – full of books and his hugely eclectic collection of vinyl – that really catch the eye.
His relationship with USM began nearly 20 years ago when a friend bought some second-hand pieces. Initially he wasn’t convinced. "I just thought it looked like bad office furniture from the 80s," he laughs. However, he began to see the brand in various offices on working trips to Japan and was won over. So much so that when his maisonette was due to be refurbished, he decided to specify it for his home.
"I think the functionality, mixed with the huge choice of colours made it an easy decision."
Interestingly, the first piece he purchased was for his son’s bedroom, choosing a wardrobe in yellow to match the adjacent radiator. "I needed something practical for books, for clothing and general storage. It’s so functional," he explains. He also uses a piece for his bedside table. Back downstairs and it’s hard to avoid the size of that record collection. Hip hop has always been important to him, but he also listens to singer-song writers, jazz, punk, Belgian new beat and soul. Having the vinyl visible on the shelves is a conscious choice. Before he bought USM he had his collection behind sliding doors and, as a result, wasn’t playing them. "I decided to have them much more accessible,’ he explains. ‘I’ve been buying records since I was eight years old. I’ve fallen in love with playing records again and have started buying them again for the first time in years."
It’s just one of the happy byproducts of purchasing USM.