Seeing Things | Found Muji – A holistic approach to design research

Clockwise, from left: Found Muji is located in Tokyo’s Aoyama area, in the same retail space where Muji opened its first shop in 1983; On display at Found Muji was a collection of folk art toys, animals, and figures from prefectures in northeast Japan; Found Muji sells everyday goods from around the world; labels provide information about the origins and history of the items on display.

I have found this really nice article on design research, a holistic approach. Have a nice read :

I make a beeline for Muji whenever I visit Tokyo (or New York, London or Paris). Japan’s chicly simple no-brand brand hasn’t set up shop yet in Los Angeles, and I’m addicted to its basic, everyday products. When I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago, I was excited to discover Found Muji, a new concept store that opened in November. (The Web site is in Japanese only.) Housed in the Aoyama-area retail space where Muji’s first stand-alone store opened in 1983, Found Muji takes the company back to its roots.

Muji’s research team travels around Japan and the rest of the world to seek out everyday goods that are updated, repurposed or “Muji-fied” to better suit contemporary life and the company’s clean, minimal aesthetic. But Found Muji goes back to the source, showcasing traditional, vernacular and often handmade housewares and decorative objects that have inspired a multitude of Muji products, like metal bowls used for curry in India, Celadon pottery from Thailand, enamelware from France or feather dusters from Germany. Part gallery and part retail space, Found Muji reveals the origins of new Muji products, and highlights simple, useful wares from different cultures around the world. Eager to find out more about Found Muji’s philosophy once I got home, I enlisted Brandon Gendvilas, a friendly (and Japanese-speaking) barista at Profeta, my local cafe, as my translator. In a nutshell, we learned that Found Muji’s goal is “to find good stuff that lasts for a long time. If the quality, shapes and materials are already perfect, they don’t change anything. Found Muji doesn’t design original items, although sometimes they work with the original artisan or designer to find ways to improve the product.” I can’t wait for my next trip to Tokyo to find out what new items Found Muji has found.

Found Muji is located at 5-5-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku in Tokyo (on Aoyama-dori near the intersection with Kotto-dori).

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