This year, Swiss brand USM is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Haller Modular Furniture System. It has become a design classic that is recognized the world over and is part of MoMA's permanent design collection. USM's rich history combined with its forward-thinking project50, which looks ahead at the future of modularity, led creative director Joost Vanhecke and curator An Michiels to schedule an exclusive visit to USM’s original premises in Münsingen, Switzerland, in the dotsandplanes European Inspiration Tour.
From June 15 to 19, the tour will bring a selected group of American interior designers from emerging as well as renowned companies—such as Gensler, MKDA and SHoP Architects—to Denmark and Switzerland. Besides cultural discoveries and industry visits to innovative European design brands, the tour does not miss the momentum of Design Miami/Basel. A private tour with Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, Design Miami’s Creative Director, is on the schedule before visiting USM the next day.
USM's Project50 is an initiative that aims to encourage a new generation of creators to explore the concept of modularity. The program kicked off end of 2014 with a week-long workshop at the estate of Domaine de Boisbuchet in southwestern France. Students from seven major international design colleges and universities were invited by USM and supported by renowned design thinkers, tutors and curators, to research and develop their vision on modularity. During Milan Design Week, the results where presented in a spectacularly staged exhibition called "Rethink the modular" at the Salone dei Tessuti. Last month, USM was also present at WantedDesign in Brooklyn, NY, with outtakes from project50, explaining how the young generation handles modularity in today’s day and age.
USM's strong point is exactly the fact that the Haller system can travel along with its users and adapt to personal changes. The USM components are continuously updated in accordance with the latest state-of-the-art technologies, while the look and the basic principles remain unchanged. This ensures that each new system component can be integrated into existing configurations. Even USM Modular Furniture Haller made in the early 1960s is still being used today and can be effortlessly expanded. USM's product vision defines this with one established term: backward compatibility.
The European Inspiration Tour will visit USM's original Haller pavilion, which dates back to the sixties. The steel-and glass building structure in which Switzerland’s first open-plan office was created, serves as a model for USM Modular Furniture Haller. The factory is reminiscent of the furniture and vice versa. "Our furniture is like buildings," says Mirco Castellan, CEO of USM. The company nurtures its strong link with its historic premises and Münsingen is and remains the exclusive manufacturing location of USM. The pavilion, the original architectural jewel at the heart of the headquarters, will be the final highlight of dotsandplanes' tour.