MO­DU­LAR FRAME OF MIND

Commercial Interior Design - - Windows, Doors, & Facades -

AS ONE OF THE MOST PRE­FERRED NAMES AMONG DE­SIGN­ERS AND AR­CHI­TECTS FOR FUR­NI­TURE IN PUB­LIC SPA­CES, USM CHECKS THE BOXES FOR BOTH FORM AND FUNC­TION. DIS­CUSSING PREVA­LENT TRENDS, ERIC BERCHTOLD, DI­REC­TOR MID­DLE EAST & AFRICA, USM, SHARES WHY THE UAE AND THE WIDER MID­DLE EAST RE­GION RE­MAIN AN EVOLV­ING MAR­KET FOR THE BRAND

Swiss fur­ni­ture pro­ducer, USM, is a renowned name in the de­sign world, thanks to its in­no­va­tive spin on mod­u­lar­ity, cou­pled with value for the past 50 years. Over the course of time, the brand has carved a niche for it­self by main­tain­ing top qual­ity in its ma­te­ri­als, styling, mod­i­fi­able func­tion­al­i­ties and time­less de­sign.

Sym­bol­ised by at­tributes such as con­tem­po­rary de­sign, flex­i­bil­ity, qual­ity and dura­bil­ity, the brand’s orig­i­nal Haller Sys­tem has been widely cel­e­brated as a de­sign clas­sic and is in­cluded in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of the Mu­seum of Modern Art in New York. It can also be found in the Louis Vuit­ton Foun­da­tion of­fices, The Musée d’Or­say and the Zurich De­sign Mu­seum, among oth­ers.

What are the emerg­ing fur­ni­ture trends in the in­dus­try?

The UAE is un­like any other mar­ket, as it caters to such a broad au­di­ence, and takes so much in­flu­ence from other re­gions. The abil­ity to re­gion­alise in­ter­na­tional trends is one of my favourite things, and the in­creas­ing push to de­velop spa­ces that re­flect the needs of the com­mu­nity. No two spa­ces in the UAE are the same, and the op­por­tu­nity to be im­mersed in so many vary­ing de­sign styles is quite unique.

A com­bi­na­tion of in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal de­signs, fo­cus on com­mu­nity spa­ces, and Euro­pean trends and prod­ucts in­forms the Mid­dle Eastern mar­ket. Ad­di­tion­ally, sus­tain­able de­sign with a strong fo­cus on qual­ity and dura­bil­ity is equally im­por­tant. In the UAE, ex­e­cu­tion and qual­ity of­ten doesn’t match the level of de­sign and in­no­va­tion, and there is a lot of scope to im­prove.

Who are your end users?

The mo­du­lar na­ture of USM fur­ni­ture caters to the needs of a wide range of users. We live in a fast-paced en­vi­ron­ment where adap­ta­tion has be­come an es­sen­tial skill. It is cru­cial to be able to build on flex­i­ble sys­tems and solid ref­er­ences, which is the vi­sion of USM's mo­du­lar modern fur­ni­ture, a sys­tem de­signed for in­fi­nite re­use and re­con­fig­u­ra­tion, and one that in­creases the life of the ma­te­rial and im­proves the fur­ni­ture’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact over time. USM fur­ni­ture can be used

at home, in the of­fice, as well as re­tail spa­ces. We tai­lor our fur­ni­ture for in­te­rior de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects, busi­ness own­ers and home own­ers.

What are your new launches?

The new Haller E Sys­tem is now avail­able in the re­gion af­ter launch­ing in the Mid­dle East in late 2017. The new sys­tem in­cludes light­ing, USB charg­ing op­tions and can be con­fig­ured into a range of sizes to best suit each in­di­vid­ual space. There are 14 colour com­bi­na­tions avail­able and two dif­fer­ence light choices — day­light glow or a warm white am­biance. The USM Haller E builds on the iconic mo­du­lar ball-and-tube frame of the orig­i­nal Haller sys­tem and al­lows power to flow through the fur­ni­ture’s struc­ture cable-free. Ad­di­tion­ally, clas­sic USM Haller fur­ni­ture, no mat­ter when it was made, can be adapted to fea­ture smart light­ing el­e­ments.

Where do you man­u­fac­ture your prod­ucts?

We man­u­fac­ture ev­ery­thing in Switzer­land, which en­sures the best qual­ity and su­per­vi­sion of the prod­uct from be­gin­ning to end. USM is a fam­i­lyrun, Swiss brand and the man­u­fac­tur­ing el­e­ment is a large part of our roots as a busi­ness.

What are your ex­pan­sion plans in this re­gion?

We are work­ing on mul­ti­ple projects through­out the year, as well as con­tin­u­ing to pro­mote our range of prod­ucts. As al­ways, we will be work­ing closely with our dis­trib­u­tors to en­sure that USM mo­du­lar fur­ni­ture en­joys top of the mind re­call with key play­ers in the de­sign, ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­ri­ors sec­tors across the re­gion.

What are the chal­lenges in this mar­ket for the sup­pli­ers?

In such a mul­ti­cul­tural, tran­sient mar­ket, it takes real ef­fort and time to build and main­tain re­la­tion­ships in the in­dus­try, keep up with trends that the mar­ket wants to see and com­mu­ni­cate your brand’s news and per­son­al­ity in a way that leaves a last­ing im­pres­sion. Ad­di­tion­ally, there is a con­stant stream of projects tak­ing place, and there is a level of cre­ativ­ity re­quired in con­cep­tu­al­is­ing the best way to present your prod­ucts in a given space.

Eric Berchtold

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