A Philosophy in Practice

The Creed Behind the Three Now-Famous Letters

The template is strong. But it is not rigid. Because the world is in motion, as are the modular furniture systems by USM – Ulrich Schärer Münsingen. When space and time shift, they not only remain flexible, they also provide the necessary support. Moving, growing, changing – a piece of furniture is like life. For USM, its own products, at least, are an expression of a lifestyle.

The proof that the template is a commitment to clarity, and should under no circumstances be confused with uniformity, is demonstrated in the 1,334 square meters in Münsingen near Bern. The open structures of the designed administrative levels in the USM corporate headquarters symbolically form a city with its structures of different paths and communicative spaces. The judicious use of furniture creates functional locations with very different characters, atmospheres, insights and outlooks. A little philosophy resonates throughout designing and using the furniture: Minimizing without making sacrifices is a win.

In principle, the consistency of USM Modular Furniture means no limitations at all in terms of creativity and aesthetics. They are based on the corporate values, in which form, function, flexibility, system, design, sustainability, quality, development and expansion are the key cornerstones. Although, in this case, the corners are predominantly round. Because the focus here is a shiny metal ball that serves as a junction for USM Modular Furniture Haller by joining metal pipes together in a precise, unique and robust way. Beyond its technical function, the six threaded openings in the chrome ball can also be viewed symbolically: They expand the configuration options of the entire modular furniture system in every direction, forming the basis of a potentially limitless expandable template.

The modular system, initially developed by engineer Paul Schärer Jr. together with architect Fritz Haller over five decades ago for their own use, has long ago evolved from its original use in modern offices to be integrated into many other areas of life. As such, all USM furniture also derive their special appeal from the contrast between the fact that they are designed and manufactured as industrial pieces while still permitting a maximum amount of customisation, which corresponds to the approach from the special history surrounding the origins of USM. Paul Schärer’s initial idea was to combine his love of beautiful things with the dream of creating an industrial company from his ancestors' locksmith shop.

A bold idea, and an invariably successful one. USM furniture has a clear, but understated appearance. One could also say: they are sovereign. In an age flooded with visual impressions, it becomes something quite unique. USM Modular Furniture Haller is not only featured in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; it is also recognized as a work of applied art. The world’s best functioning patent protection.

What we like to refer to as “authenticity” originates from the inner strength of the philosophy and the products. It's not a buzz word; it's a lasting value. And it's the expression of a fundamental USM belief: no constant without renewal, no continuity without innovation. That's how classics come to be.