USM ‘NYC’ is a new collection of modular furniture by Swiss company USM and creative director Ben Ganz, celebrating the iconic New York skyscraper using the classic storage furniture.
USM ‘NYC’: the skyscraper as modular furniture
‘There’s a long tradition of the skyscraper and the skyline in furniture design,’ says Ganz. He cites references such as Paul T Frankl’s ‘Skyscraper’ bookshelves from the 1920s, which took the skyscraper as a symbol of American modernity; and Gaetano Pesce’s iconic ‘Tramonto a New York’ couch, inspired by 1980s Gotham. ‘Given that USM’s origin is so directly connected to architecture, it made sense to me to continue this legacy. And the tower is a perfect symbol of New York, where the only place to build is up.’
A Swiss family-run business since 1885, USM’s most iconic product is the 1960s ‘USM Haller’ furniture series designed by Swiss architect Fritz Haller, who essentially created a furniture-sized version of his groundbreaking modular architecture. Since then, the system has evolved into several modular interpretations, from office desks to plant displays, and has been used in projects that include Sabine Marcelis’ redesign of the Study Centre at Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Presented for the first time at Design Miami 2022, USM ‘NYC’ pieces feature an extended wheeled platform base that adds an element of mobility to the collection, and perforated metal panels that give the pieces a sense of lightness. The series offers an innovative approach to the USM modules, including storage furniture and seating (the latter with the introduction of a cushion, the first time an upholstered element is added to the USM Haller range). The bright, matte hues of the collection include Uptown Blue, SoHo yellow and Downtown Pink.
After its launch, the collection will be available exclusively through Pin-Up Home, a new furniture design platform led by the eponymous publication.
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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