How Do They Do It?
Minimalist, recycled, inexpensive, irresistible. We interviewed the Japanese giant’s design team (they won’t identify themselves individually) via e-mail.
What does the word muji mean in Japanese?
No-brand, quality goods.
What’s the philosophy?
The four key criteria of the concept:
• Reasonable price;
• Simple, moderate, and functional design;
• Basic, understated color;
• Essential parts for people to design their lifestyles at their discretion.
How much of your product is made from recycled materials?
We are now having products of reused yarn, which is including socks, T-shirts, toys, camisoles, and long-sleeve knits. Also there are many stationery products made by recycled paper.
Consistent with the concept are Muji’s three product-development principles:
• Material selection. To keep costs down and quality high, Muji uses industrial materials, materials ignored by others, and materials which can be bought at low cost and in bulk.
• Simple, uniform packaging. To emphasize the natural qualities of the product as well as minimizing both cost and waste, Muji keeps packaging to a bare minimum.
• Efficient production processes. Muji constantly inspects and reinspects every stage of production.
Will you have the full product range here?
We will bring furniture, fabrics, apparel, housewares, cosmetic supplies, outdoor goods, and electronics. Only the food range is not going to be imported.
How long is the design and production cycle?
Muji releases a new collection twice a year for the household and apparel lines. Pumping up new items one after another is not a way of Muji.
There are Muji cafés in Japan; will you have one here?
We are not planning to handle this business here at this moment.
Who designed the Soho store?
Muji’s interior-design team. Since there are quite a few people who already experienced Muji somewhere else, it’s very challenging to present it not only as Muji, but also as fresh for everyone.
Can we come to the opening?
Sure, when we have opening thing, I would invite you.