What is MUJI? And why, in a world where brands are shoved down our throat from literally every source possible, is MUJI important?
Walking around my city’s mall, I saw this beautiful store right across me. Wood furnishings, with the strokes of white and beige. For a minimalist, it was practically pulling me towards it. I saw it was named MUJI. I had never heard of it before but I went inside and spent some good 20 minutes there. Everything was so neat, so perfect. I had been reading a bit of Buddhism lately, and it has a similar tenet, ‘mujo’ which means impermanence. I wondered if it was something similar so I came home and checked it out.
I am literally fed up of being treated like a pig on coke. A mice that has been conditioned to jump and buy the next thing that screams from the subway screens. Literally every single piece that our sight falls upon, from the coffee cups to our detergent shouts only one thing, CONSUME!
In a world like that, where we are no more than a credit card that swipes, MUJI was a huge sigh of relief.
So let me tell you what it is because they themselves wont.
MUJI’s full name is Mujirushi Ryohin stands for ‘no brand quality goods’.
It’s key idea being: MUJI is not what you want, but Muji is enough.
So you don’t get t-shirts screaming the brand name, or notebooks that have the Muji scribbled on them. The idea is the product. And the end result is the product. Muji exists only to deliver it to you. It’s own identity is insignificant.
But that is where it leaves it’s mark. For it focuses on the one thing that you walked in the store for, the product. Sustainability is not just a word and they boldly do away with unnecessary ornamentation. It’s a personification of Less is More, Mies Van der Rohe would have been proud.
The packaging is bare minimum, and it beautifully simple and naked. The colors are natural or unfinished and the waste is drastically reduced which brings your attention to the exact product that you have come to buy, that you are going to use. In a culture that promotes us to buy different merchandise for even slightly different use, each being almost excessively designed, MUJI’s products by themselves can be used in multiple ways, and are not overtly specific.
Refillable pens, 90-degree socks that don’t slip, a flashlight that can be used as a lamp, and multi-purpose containers, MUJI allows you to tailor the product to your particular interest instead of tailoring it for you.
Product Design has become limited to a race for profit these days with each of them competing with each other to last less and less, so that we buy more and more. The planned obsolescence with which each product is designed is almost repulsive. Where everything else is designed with the profit being the sole principle, MUJI allowed me to see a world of design here philosophy still holds a place. Where products are designed to last and to be used, in myriad ways and till the time that they can be. So while they don’t advertise even on their own products, they take the old route to people’s lives. You see something at your friend’s house, or you read an article or Medium, or like me you stumble across a store like me; its personal and honest. Something that is hard to find these days.
Attached below is the only video that they ever released. Hope you find it interesting: