USM history & origin

The History & Origin of
a Family Business

The Origin of USM
USM takes its initials from its founder, Ulrich Schärer, and Münsingen, the Swiss village just outside of Bern where he was born. Since its creation in 1885 and without interruption, the company USM has stayed rooted in Münsingen, Switzerland.

It was originally a family-run metal factory housed in a traditional building, but it was Paul Schärer Jr., grandson of the founder and father of the current leader, who, with the intention of strengthening industrialisation, steered USM into the modern world in the early 1960s.

In 1961, he commissioned the Swiss architect Fritz Haller, one of the most influential Swiss architects of the second half of the 20th century, to design a new type of flexible building that could accommodate, on the one hand, the administration of the company, and on the other, adapt to various manufacturing processes, and be able to evolve over time with the rapid development of the company.

Once the new USM factory opened, Paul Schärer Jr., realised that the only furniture available were traditional wooden pieces, far from the functionalist aesthetic of the buildings. Together, Paul Schärer Jr. and Fritz Haller developed the USM Haller fitting system, which has since become an international benchmark for furniture.

Originally, the space dedicated to offices was relatively limited and in a small independent building (above in 1965), it has now moved inside the main building to support the development of USM.

The current offices are in a large hall with high ceilings typical of industrial buildings, no partitions: this is where USM furniture plays its role as a fitting system perfectly, equipping individuals and shared workstations as well as becoming partitions for the different areas for work, meeting or relaxation.

It is an understatement to say that the imagination of USM team was given free range in designing their workspace!

Here, the incredible modularity of the USM Haller system is used to create a unique place in which everyone can find, depending on the time of day, a space perfectly suited to their needs to concentrate, take a break, or organise a meeting during which the furniture will serve as a support for the creativity of the participants.

In some cases, the structures are more micro-architecture than furniture, in a form of homage to the genesis of the place, and showcase a selection of works of art, a source of inspiration for all.

In this historic building, many solutions are implemented to allow teams to work in the best possible conditions, but also to test the ideas of tomorrow in real conditions of use before their launch!

This is why the M of USM is obviously
that of Münsingen.