I.D. magazine, May, 2002
A fabulous building renovation heralded the opening of USM Modular Furnitures new U.S. headquarters, marking the century-old Swiss companys expansion into the American market. The dwelling in question, a historic cast-iron building located in SoHo (circa 1874), was acquired in a state of great disrepair. But under the direction of Thomas McKay, Principal of New York-based MSM Architects, this six-story, 35,000 sq. ft. building is being restored to its original splendor.
The building has symbolic meaning to us, says Alex Schaerer, USMs CEO. With its 19th century design, and cast iron façade, it stands at the crossroads between the new and the old world. And in SoHo, it remains at the forefront of fashion and design as well as New Yorks art and architecture scene.
The first phase of the renovation was completed in May, producing a ground-level 5,000 sq. ft. showroom with large windows lining Greene Street, and corporate offices on the buildings lower level. The showroom was designed to provide an ample stage for all product s, including eleven22, USMs newest line of modular office furniture. Phase two of the renovation (to be completed in 2003) includes a complete restoration of the buildings façade, and creation of rental units on the upper floors.
For USM, the christening of this new space represents a significant commitment to its American business. The opening comes at a difficult time for New York, says Schaerer. USM has always remained loyal to its customers. Personally, I think its more important than ever to continue ahead.