Demystifying the “Japanese-ness” of KonMari method

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!

Chapter 4-3: Absence in business – Nissin Cupnoodles Museum

Chapter 2-4: Effect of subtraction on your satisfaction

Chapter 2-8: Sparking joy by subtracion – decluttering and minimalists

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 through the lens of Minimalists

“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?

MUJI solar cooking scale – inspiring everyday product

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.

“Simplify!” Steve Jobs’ relentless quest for Zen design

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.

MUJI Passive house

MUJI “Wood House” model home in Kanagawa, Japan

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.

The Zen of Minimalism: How Minimal Design is a Catalyst for Happiness

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 Hut: tiny house dissolving into the environment

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 Oak Bench: Minimalist, agile and versatile

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.

Discover the aesthetics of “less is more”

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.

Open House with Condensed Core: House Vision 2016

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 and the aesthetics of “emptiness”

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 x UR: MUJI beautifully fixes-up old-fashioned urban apartments

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.

Discover the magic of smallness: MUJI’s toothbrush stand

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.

Where would millennials live when they go minimal?

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.

Japanese minimalist design and the influence of traditional Zen art

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.

Haramaki, Heattech or MUJI?: waste heat recovery of the people, for the people

How much is sufficient? “80% Full Product” by MUJI

Pursuing “just right” (not too much, not too little), MUJI uses the slogan “fitness80” to ask what the “just right” level/amount is for humans.

Anonymous is beautiful: “The Profiles of Design” by Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa’s style is very unique: it talks a lot without uttering any words. His sleek, minimalist and quiet design makes you feel like it’s almost dissolving into the surroundings. However, while his products blend with the environment, their beauty and charm stands out silently, yet powerfully. There is something very magnetic and engaging in his work.