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| Designbest editorial staff


odern, lightweight and flexile furniture was the guiding principle behind the construction of a home, where the internal layout was designed around the main pieces of furniture. Here, our client gave only one specification: modern furniture, works of art and no built-in storage. This is how this family home in Morioka, Japan was born, a bright and dynamic space where USM Haller modular furniture takes centre stage.


In this family home, the open-plan living room with adjoining dining room is the key area. To the left, floor-to-ceiling glazing looks onto the garden, entrance is to the back.


The city of Morioka is off the tourist path, in the north of the Island of Honshu, two hours by train (or eight by bus) from Tokyo. Because its inaka, the countryside, the houses here tend to be larger than in the rest of Japan. The interior is spacious and bright with a large living room, which looks onto the garden terrace and an open-plan kitchen with a breakfast area.


The living room seen from the large wooden dining table. In the foreground, two PH5 pendant lamps, designed in 1958 by Poul Henningsen.

Here, the furniture is functional as the owner favours contemporary design in clean and simple lines. A compelling intercontinental mix which brings to Japan modern Swiss and Danish aesthetics. Light parquet flooring and white walls, which are relieved by colourful USM furniture. First designed in 1963, USM modular furniture has since then become a true classic. Interior architect Ochi chose this, certain it would be valued for decades to come.

Left-hand side image, entrance with open staircase which leads to top floor bedrooms.

A spacious kitchen. A USM cupboard with six shelves runs the entire length of the wall; this piece is used like an old dresser. USM is a highly modular furniture range, units can be fitted with either open shelves or fronts which open in different ways.

A small USM sideboard on castors separates hob from breakfast table. It doubles-up as a practical counter, which opens on both sides.

The sideboard has a flip top, so plates and glasses can be accessed easily.

USM modular furniture was assembled to suit individual space requirements

USM modular furniture was assembled to suit individual space requirements. Each piece comes in a different colour like yellow, blue and green to differentiate utility spaces like bathrooms or laundry rooms.

There’s modular storage also in the bathroom, where it wasn’t easy to avoid using built-in furniture. Customized USM pieces ordered to height where fitted underneath the top.


This practical home, decorated with a smart choice of materials and modern furniture, is the perfect blend of elegance and style, and has a warm and welcoming heart nonetheless. Opting for alternatives to built-in furniture avoided creating a continuous shell, and fuss-free classic-modern pieces brought extraordinary lightness, a fresh space free from time and place. 



Design project

Family home with garden 

Morioka, Japan

Interior design project:
Arch.  Ochi, Giappone

Furniture sourcing: 
USM modular furniture
Website: www.usm.com

Courtesy USM Haller

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