Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara is known for his “emptiness” design philosophy as you can see in MUJI products. He says we shouldn’t own too much because it will ruin the beauty of our living environment. Find his take on decluttering to live a truly rich live.
While many people are excited about Marie Kondo’s “katazuke” (tidying-up) method, there are a certain number of people who disagre. If you are curious why people react to her so vehemently on both sides, it may help to understand the unique “Japanese-ness” she represents in the niche of decluttering. A hint: cleaning can be philosophical!
If it sounds counterintuitive that “having less” results in a happier life; simply flip the coin and think that “owning more” means “more stress to manage.” We are surrounded by too much stuff, information and relationships that are beyond our capacity to manage in comfort. Having less means adjusting your assets to a manageable size.
“Happiness” is elusive. No one knows for sure how to get it. So, we have assumed that “more makes us happier.” But an increasing number of people are realizing that that recipe does not necessarily work. They are starting to reject owning more to feel happier. How can this be possible?
Many daily household items are not a feast for the eyes, and you are not inspired or excited when you use them. But does it have to be that way? The MUJI cooking scale is just beautiful in design and delivers great functionality (and is semi solar-powered). It is inspiring to find how just one aesthetically pleasing cooking scale can uplift your life.
Steve Jobs is known to have practiced the Soto-school of Japanese Zen, and is also known to have loved the kare-sansui garden of the Saijo-ji in Kyoto, which was founded by a prominent Zen priest/garden designer in the 14th century. Find how Jobs leveraged Zen philosophy to design simple and minimal Apple products.
We visited MUJI’s model house in Kanagawa, Japan. The model, the “Wood House,” is a “tiny house” of about 1,000 square feet that delivers edit-ability and flexibility you could never have expected in other homes. The secret? Efficient insulation and no walls that would otherwise have limited your option to leverage each corner of the space. Find out how it works.
We tend to think of minimalism as an art movement and a minimalist lifestyle as two separate things, but they share a common philosophy. It has to do with how we leverage our inner ability and potential. Connect the dots among De Stijl, Zen rock garden and “decluttering.”
MUJI released a “hut” in 2017 which is even tinier than a “tiny house.” Coming with the interior size of 9.1 m2, it delivers agility, mobility and flexibility you would never expected from a house. “Place it anywhere you want,” says MUJI. With the MUJI Hut, you are almost free to choose your ideal location to spend your time.
MUJI’s simple, minimalist Oak Bench is a “tote” bench. It’s agile, mobile and will add lively and flexible flow, movements and accents to your room.
When you abandon “more” to start embracing “less is more,” what is actually taking over “more” to make us happy? Zen could help you find the answer.
Architect Shigeru Ban has been actively involved in disaster relief projects in many parts of the world, by designing and providing temporary shelters. When he imagined a next generation house, it became tiny, flexible, mobile, temporary, agile, editable and adjustable.
Kenya Hara is a Japanese graphic designer who helped cement the philosophy of Japanese brand MUJI by leveraging the concept of “emptiness.” Even though these concepts might appear similar, “emptiness” in Japanese aesthetics is different from Western “simplicity,” observes Hara. Ultimately it has to do with how we perceive our relationship with nature.
MUJI started selling houses in 2004, and the project has been evolving. They now collaborate with other parties to re-invigorate outdated building stock. Discover their philosophy and strategy on how to re-discover the value of old homes, minimize disposal of old parts and adjust them to today’s living environment.
Many everyday products are designed based on the assumption that “bigger is the better.” But MUJI’s tiny toothbrush stand – one of their best selling items – reminds us that small is simply beautiful. Small items fit our body and our living environment so smoothly and consciously. They let you engage and take control your own life.
Millennials are not interested in owning extravagant properties but instead are interested in investing in experiences. Their “ideal” house should look very different from older generation whose dream was to own a big house. What Sou Fujimoto imagined at House Vision may be the answer.
If you want to introduce Zen-taste minimalist design, what are the tips? There are several critical Zen aesthetics such as “subtraction”, “condensation” and “absence” that strongly influenced modern minimalist design. Find them through MUJI and other iconic product design.