We round up our Milan 2014 coverage with a company we admire, but about whom we find it all but impossible to write.
Because their products and their collection so rarely change.
But that’s it. That’s all they do.
Which is also one of the principle reasons we admire them. They do what they do, do it well and let the others chase headlines and plaudits.
However, at Milan Furniture Fair 2014 USM Haller did present two new permutations of the accepted raster: one obvious and one much, much more subtle.
The obvious refinement is a collection of new materials and new colours for the USM table collection.
A couple of years ago USM invested heavily in the launch of a series of new colours for the Living Essentials collection as part of a concerted effort to persuade the public that a furniture system all too often associated with offices can also be successfully and happily deployed in domestic situations. The Living Essentials colours only applied to the USM Haller sideboards, highboards, lowboards et al. The new table tops are, in effect, the next step in this process of gentle persuasion.
In domestic spaces users have, somewhat naturally, different demands of their furnishings than in office spaces, for all in terms of what one could term the “emotional” aspects of the furniture. To this end when developing the new table tops in co-operation with La Neuveville based design studio Atelier Oï not only was special attention paid to the colours but also to the haptic qualities of the surfaces. The result is a range of new materials, including MDF and matt glass, and some 20 new colours, a considerable increase on the previous palette and one which means the USM table collection is now available in some 55 colour/material combinations.
And yes, we did write “in co-operation with La Neuveville based design studio Atelier Oï”
USM working with an external design studio!
The co-operation with Atelier Oï is of course the more subtle innovation from Milan 2014. One is so use to contemporary furniture manufactures co-operating with external design studios, co-operations that currently always seem to be in context of developing new colour schemes, one tends to register such and roll on.
But in context of USM Haller one must gave it a little more importance. Because it is simply not the sort of thing they do. Or at least not publicly.
We must admit to still being a little unsure if we approve of the idea or not. It’s a bit like when your conservative great uncle starts watching The Simpsons. Your happy that he’s experiencing more of life, but you fear that before too long he’ll want to start skateboarding. Or watch Breaking Bad. And so part of you wishes he’d just go back to reading Sophocles and complaining about the quality of modern peppermints.
Time will tell how far USM Haller take their external co-operations, or if the co-operation with Atelier Oï is but a blip on an otherwise linear trajectory.
We will of course keep you updated. Should anything happen…………………………….