A Closer Look At: The Iconic Haller System by USM

The idea that form follows function is gospel for many architects and designers. And yet, great design often involves so much more than this. While the end-use may influence a design’s shape and style, this should not be at the expense of beauty, and any object of note should seek to inspire and delight in ways entirely unexpected. Today’s multifaceted homes have also imposed an additional requirement. In order to be considered truly contemporary, a design must be versatile and agile, able to keep up effortlessly with the evolving rhythms of modern life.

It’s a set of criteria that has been perfected by the team at USM.  In 1965, they launched the Haller collection, a modular furniture system designed to simplify the hum and thrash of mid-century offices. Looking at it’s timeless, intelligent design, you could be forgiven for thinking that it had been conceived in the Bauhaus School of the Arts. However, its story actually began in neighbouring Switzerland, when Paul Schärer and Fritz Haller decided to translate the expansive principles of steel frame construction into furniture form.

Now a part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, the Haller System challenges the idea that bespoke furniture means fixed in place. Given that the design was conceived over 50 years ago, this is quite a revolutionary thought.


The one constant in modern life is change. In many homes, spare rooms become children’s bedrooms and then revert back again once the kids move out. Meanwhile, an increasing number of millennials have declared that they plan to rent for the rest of their lives rather than buy. No matter which way you look at it, the future is shaping up to be shared, malleable and on-demand. It figures then, that we should invest in designs that we can take with us and transform accordingly.

Haller fits neatly into this narrative. It is perhaps the only system we know of that can evolve into a library, sideboard, vanity cabinet and then back again. Better still, despite it’s a status as a design icon, the team at USM continue its evolution, launching a series of desks and accessories that can be used in conjunction with the original system. As Elle Decor recently reported, the latest innovation is the USM Haller E which allows for the illumination of structural elements. We also recommend taking a look at the Haller Table/Desk, which can be slotted into Haller to create an elegant workstation.

At Chaplins, we’re thrilled to provide a selection of bespoke furniture solutions, of which Haller is one. With working from home looking like a likely conclusion for a large part of the workforce, it’s worth giving some thought to the space in which you’ll spend the next third of your life. Our mission is to help you get it right the first time. Get in touch with a member of our friendly design team today or take a peek at some of the most popular USM configurations that are in-stock and ready to go.



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