The MUJI aesthetic: What prompts us to use fancy words like “aesthetic”

Earlier last week I made a visit to the MoMA Design Store on 53rd, whose rear third is dedicated to MUJI products.  MUJI’s a Japanese domestic design company whose only stores in USA are here in New York. A visit to their website is kinda sorta necessary. It’s very purrdy.

I like MUJI for many reasons.  And I’m currently attempting to put these reasons into words. Actually, maybe there’s just one reason but that one reason has an enormous number of facets that make me, who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the nature of my consciousness, think there are many reasons. In any case, I like MUJI.

I hesitate to call them a high-end IKEA, firstly because IKEA’s 40 years older and one must respect one’s elders, secondly because the global scale of the two is incomparable.  Also, IKEA is all/mostly furniture, and MUJI, like, isn’t, so duh. Also, why am I caps locking MUJI. I don’t have to.

Muji’s known for it’s “no-brand” aesthetic, meaning it doesn’t market and brand its products.  Which is why it’s so successful. There’s a sense of exclusivity and anonymity that offers an “origin-less” product of successfully simplified design. At least that’s why I like it.  That and the website’s pretty. I hate saying things like “It’s very Japanese”, but here it applies.  Japanese apparel/domestic design companies have the habit of creating these sexful online stores where their products take a back seat to the website itself, and I love that about them.

Case in point: The Uniqlock.


Apparel brand UNIQLO's online clock features girls doing random dance moves in 10-second loops. Go on it sometime; time goes by really fast around you.

The less you promote yourself, the more you allow the average person to construct a mental promotion for him or herself self in his or her head.  For Muji this consists of cotton and recycled material and the color white and probably yoga. And once he or she discovers the total awesomeness of just thing from the store, the rest falls into place. This is all common sense but I’m just putting it down for the sake of clarifying it in my head.

Anyway, back to the MoMA Muji. I bought two notebooks and a checklist. 🙂

Apparently there are no pictures of the checklist online. Use your imagination, it’s sexy (your imagination and the checklist).


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