Passagen Cologne 2020: USM Haller HomeWork @ smow Cologne

Our increasingly networked, digital, virtual society is not only changing our relationship to innumerable everyday activities, activities such as personal communication, shopping or watching television to name but three, and thereby activities which a few short years ago seemed destined to remain unchanged for ever, but is also changing our relationship to work, be that in terms of what we do, where we do it or how we do it.

Changes which invariably place both new demands on our furniture, and our understanding of the term “functional” in context of furniture; an understanding which a few short years ago seemed destined to remain unchanged for ever.

With the showcase USM Haller HomeWork smow Cologne consider responses to such evolutions with the assistance of the USM Haller modular furniture system.

USM Haller HomeWork, smow Cologne

USM Haller HomeWork, smow Cologne

For all that USM Haller is a modular furniture system it is fundamentally a modular architecture system. In the early 1960s the Swiss Architect Fritz Haller developed the so-called MINI MIDI MAXI system, essentially a modular construction system based around standardised steel components and which allows for the construction of three scales of building: MINI for houses and similar small, two storey, objects; MIDI for schools/administrative buildings etc; and MAXI for larger single storey work such as factories, and a system which was marketed by Münsingen based metal fabricators USM as the “USM Stahlbausystem Haller”.

And, therefore, and logically, was used by Fritz Haller to construct new factory and administrative facilities for USM.

With the offices complete, furniture was needed and so MINI MIDI MAXI was scaled further down, the steel construction system becoming a steel furniture system, MÖBEL MINI MIDI MAXI as it were, and, importantly, a modular furniture system with the same inherent versatility and transformability as the modular construction system; a versatility which means that much as the USM Stahlbausystem Haller can be employed in commercial, civic, industrial and domestic contexts so can the USM Haller furniture system be employed across a range of scenarios.

And a versatility that as USM Haller HomeWork ellucidates allows it to respond to our changing demands on our furniture, be that in the office, home or home office.

Lieblingsplatz?, Favourite place? as seen at USM Haller HomeWork, smow Cologne

Lieblingsplatz?, Favourite place? as seen at USM Haller HomeWork, smow Cologne

In addition to elegantly underscoring, for example, the abundant formal versatility of the USM Haller system, the expansion of the system through the integration of objects such as the USM INOS boxes, the expansion of the system through the integration of USM Privacy Panels or the myriad office, home or home office situations in which system USM Haller can be employed, including a minimalist, yet very personal Sitzeck, corner bench, one of the real highlights of USM Haller HomeWork is its demonstration of the inherent logic and value of Haller E.

Launched at Milan Furniture Fair 2017, and after some seven years research and development, the Haller E system allows electricity to be fed through the system’s steel tubing to power LEDs and USM USB chargers, and thereby offers all manner of possible applications. In the home, office and home office. Among those lighting solutions suggested/proposed/demanded in context of USM Haller HomeWork at smow Cologne one finds, and amongst many others, lighting for the wardrobe, lighting for the drinks cabinets, integration of lighting into USM kitchen units, or the possibility of a home office desk lamp, while the unobtrusive USB chargers, placed discretely out of view but always to hand and ready for all our contemporary mobile devices be that smartphone, headphones, or and as demonstrated in Cologne, bike lights, have such a inherent naturalness one could be mistaken for believing they were always part of the system. Which, arguably they, and the lighting, always were. Technology just had to catch up.

And thus a presentation of Haller E which very neatly and succinctly not only illuminates, pun intended, the extra versatility Haller E brings to system USM Haller but for all how Haller E brings an extra dimension of functionality to system USM Haller, an extra dimension of functionality that corresponds to the demands of our current age, responds to our new demands on our furniture, and thus, by extrapolation underscores how the inherent versatility that Fritz Haller bequeathed first system USM Stahlbausystem Haller and subsequently USM Möbelbausystem Haller through its modularity and intrinsic simplicity means it is a furniture system excellently adapted to a world which seems destined to remain unchanged for ever. But will, in a few short years, change.

USM Haller HomeWork runs at smow Cologne, Waidmarkt 11, 50676 Cologne until Sunday January 19th

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