The Obtainer - 6/12/24, Wednesday

The Obtainer

June 12th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

Today we’re exploring the history of one of my recent favorite furniture finds, USM Haller. I keep seeing it pop up and so I needed to know more about it.

- Cory Ohlendorf, Editor in Chief ⋯ @coryohlendorf


Anatomy of a Classic

USM Haller

It’s furniture inspired by the framing of a building. Truly customizable pieces that can be configured in countless ways depending on your space, your needs and your style. And because of that, USM Haller's signature modular designs have been able to adapt to changing times, evolving design trends and cultural shifts.

Built from the start as furniture meant to last for generations, USM was emphasizing sustainability before it was fashionable, and USM Haller pieces bought five decades ago can be paired with those purchased today. That's because the pieces have virtually remained unchanged since their debut in the early 1960s.

But the brand never set out to create an icon. Originally a hardware and lock business, USM was founded in 1885 when Ulrich Schaerer set up shop in Münsingen, Switzerland (hence the abbreviated USM name), where the family business remains today. They eventually began specializing in window fittings, ornamental hinges and precision-machined sheet metal. Then, in 1961, Ulrich's grandson, Paul Schaerer, commissioned architect Fritz Haller to build a new factory and office building for the company. Once the new USM factory opened, Schaerer realized that the only furniture available was traditional wooden pieces—far from the new headquarters' functionalist aesthetic. So the two men, inspired by Haller's steel construction system, worked together to create modular furniture for the new space.

The furniture was built around a system of structural chrome-plated steel tubes and powder-coated panels that could be reconfigured to meet the diverse needs of the company's factory and offices. The cornerstone of the system, of course, was the ingenious ball joint—an elegant and effective solution that ensures structural integrity and ultimate adaptability. Literally, any piece of the frame (available in 11 different lengths) can link with the connecting ball's threaded holes in six directions. That tiny ball joint was so vital that the company patented the design in 1965 and it now serves as a logo for the brand.



Despite the original design dating back half a century, its streamlined proportions, modernist details and general functionality have ensured that it feels as relevant today as it did back then. In fact, the handsome, colorful furniture system has arguably never been as popular as it is right now. It's minimalist and masculine styling has made it an interior design grail for fashionable men outfitting their place. And thanks to a series of well-placed collaborations, the brand has developed a cult-following of devotees that are buying up pieces new and old.

Thanks to its endless workability, the USM Haller pieces—everything from media consoles and bookcases to desks and bar carts—can now be found in all sorts of places. You'll see them in stylish homes and the kind of offices you actually want to work in; they're found in design studios, high-end shops and galleries. These days, the brand is also doing some impressive collaborations, from art and fashion to street and skate industries that have helped the brand mint a new generation of design enthusiasts. From Supreme's credenza (complete with logo emblazoned across the lower doors) and a one-off Rimowa edition (with corrugated panels akin to the famed luggage) to Ghetto Gastro's kitchen cart and a nature-inspired range with loungewear brand Comme Si—the limited-edition pieces showcase USM's ability to evolve, while also retaining the core DNA that serves as the line's blueprint.


Your Options Today

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Console Table

Crafted from durable steel in Switzerland, the table features two drop-down doors that lock and open with the twist of the coin-shaped handles.

Console table, $3,195

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Bar Cart

A durable spot to build out your liquor collection, the powder-coated metal and chrome can easily take spills, while the handle and casters make for easy mobility.

Bar cart, $1,345

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Smart Buys

The sales and discounts our team is currently watching.

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Nike spring-loaded this do-it-all trainer with responsiveness for surges of off-the-rack energy. And with the discount code, you can't beat the price.

$130 / $58.47
(w/code CHILL25)
by Nike


Ready for summer smoothies, protein shakes and frozen cocktails? Save $250 on Vitamix's 2.2 horsepower blender while it's on sale.

$599.95 / $349.95
by Vitamix


Made from a soft cotton blend, this knit polo shirt has a subtle open-stitch design and causal Johnny collar. It looks a lot more expensive than it is.

$65 / $49.99 by Madewell


This flowy short-sleeve shirt is cut from A&F's new lightweight and breathable summer linen-blend fabric. Wear it solo, under a summer suit or open over a tank.

$60 / $30 by
Abercrombie & Fitch


It's rare to find a visvim piece for this low, especially a breezy, soft cotton overshirt with a colorful checked pattern that you can wear all season long.

$790 / $470.05
(w/code FLASH15)
by visvim


This garment-dyed tee is cut from an unbelievably soft and lofty loose-knit organic cotton jersey that's been washed for a sun-bleached hue and well-worn feel.

$58 / $38 by Outerknown


Want more?
See all 45 sales »

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Worth a Read

The best story from around the web.


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*** Mood Board ***
Mood Board


Los Angeles, California



The perfect chocolate caramel patina 🍫🍮 Rare Tropical 1960 Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 with a gilt "chapter ring" dial & PCG case | Available now on the C+T site!⁠



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June 11

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