There is a piece of Swiss furniture that has become an international star – the USM shelf. The modular metal piece of furniture, that was first developed as a piece of office furniture, has also become a cult object for the home. It is no wonder then that it is a design classic which combines the typical Swiss qualities of beauty, style, order and dependability.

The Swiss design icon can look back on a long and fascinating history: In 1885 Ulrich Schärer in Münsigen (USM for short) founded a hardware store and locksmith’s shop. In 1961 Paul Schärer, the founder’s uncle, joined the company and planned to make it a modern industrial enterprise. He called upon the architect Fritz Haller to build a new company building. That unique and modular architecture inspired Paul Schärer and Fritz Haller to develop the USM Haller modular furniture system, in 1965 the furniture design was officially launched and the cult piece of furniture and a Swiss success story was born.

USM Shelf

As a design icon, the simple Swiss shelf can also completely confidently take centre stage! (All images from USM, link:

To begin with, the ingenious and elegant piece of furniture was designed for own use, as a perfect, flexible modular shelf system. In 1965 the USM intersections, on which the furniture system was based, were patented and the USM modular furniture system successfully went on to the market. International corporations, architecture offices, schools, boutiques and small companies of all kinds chose and continue to choose again and again the ingenious shelf in its different colours and finishes as furniture. It was quickly discovered for the home too. During the sixties people fell in love with cool design and the smart Swiss shelf was at the top of the list. The renowned New York Museum of Modern Art even incorporated it as a classic piece in its collection.

Living with design

Since the beginning of industrialisation, the term “design” and with it industrially developed and produced products have been brought into people’s homes. Modernity, effortlessness and function define our pieces of furniture. Today we prefer to live in individual accommodation that combines all of this and that grows out of interesting, beautiful, new and old individual pieces. Design classics such as the USM shelf fit in everywhere as they are true classics. Design pieces look best when they are completely naturally integrated – and of course used. They were developed as items of furniture for everyday use and only exist if they are used in this way. Many today confuse design with prestige and status. Real and good design has been thought out for the everyday and works best that way.

USM Shelf

The USM shelf is also a purist beauty that achieves order quite automatically. (All images from USM, link:


In the home, the modular shelf system can be installed according to the individual tastes, styles and needs of the residents. It can therefore work as a great kitchen shelf, a perfect room divider, an elegant sideboard or very personalised book shelf. It also has space for toys, a home bar, make-up utensils, clothes, a record collection or love letters. The shelf can even act as a bedside table, a piece of furniture for the bathroom or a chest of drawers. It can be displayed open or with hinged doors, it can optionally have drawers, castors and come in different colours.


The stable and flexible USM shelf is an all-rounder piece of furniture, which means that it is usable and beautiful from all sides. It is therefore perfectly suited as a room divider. (All images from USM, link: