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.

Demystifying the mysteries of Japanese aesthetics

What’s the common secret behind traditional Zen arts/culture, wabi-sabi, MUJI, Japanese architecture, sushi and Totoro? It’s the unique approach toward nature.

Beauty of ambiguous architecture: Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto, one of the most sought-after Japanese architects today, has the incomparable ability to define spatial dimensions and to let a unique kind of abundance emerge even from limited spaces. He often likens his architecture to “forests,” which consist of many small elements to make a large and complex whole. Many ambiguous things “you don’t know” or “don’t make sense” help maintain the wholeness of the forest, says Fujimoto, which is what he captures and transplants in his works.

Rental Space Tower by Sou Fujimoto (2): House Vision 2016

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto is a master of ambiguity. With Rental Space Tower, he blurs boundaries between ownership and rental. New potential emerge.

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.

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.

What is Zero?

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Zero is a device available to all of us in order to thrive and live a fulfilling life in an increasingly over-populated, resource-constrained and drastically changing world.
Zero is next generation sustainability and resilience.

Zero is an answer for mindful satisfaction.
 

How does it work, and why now?
There is a critical disconnect between what’s going on at a planetary (macro-economic), micro-economic and personal level.  Earth is now holding 7 billion people.  At a planetary level, the environment is stressed and resources are becoming scarcer.  Many experts believe that the current system is not sustainable. However at a micro-economic, we keep trying to expand our economic activities.  Businesses compete fiercely to provide more for less, fueled by ever-intensifying consumer demand.  We seek to access more products and services for less to feel satisfied and happy.  This disconnect may keep growing until we end up depleting all the resources, unless we proactively embrace another perspective on how we pursue satisfaction and happiness.


If you felt “what about technology? Technology will eventually solve all the problems,” stay tuned. Zero and technology will be discussed in the near future.  Please sign up for updates from the sidebar.


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  • The Earth’s resources are finite.
  • Population keeps growing at an exponential rate.
  • Production capacity also keeps growing, but no one knows for sure to what extent it can keep growing.
  • Many commodities, notably food-related products and metals/minerals have been showing significant price increases over the last two decades.
    • Cheap resources underpinned economic growth for much of the 20th century. The 21st will be different.(Mckinsey Quarterly, 2011)
  • Climate change and environmental degradation is already directly damaging our existing assets (e.g. through extreme weather), or indirectly affecting our productivity (e.g. drought or deforestation)


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  • Global competition intensifies and business environment keeps changing at a fast pace.
  • Customer demands for “more for less” intensify even though input prices keep increasing.
  • Middle class is disappearing.


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  • Care about the environment, but don’t want to give up the happiness and comfort delivered by plethora of affordable products and services.
  • Life security depends on job security and income, which depends on economic growth.


What’s happening at a micro-economic and personal level simply don’t go hand-in-hand with the reality that the Earth faces. You cannot keep increasing your output in a closed system with decreasing input, and our planet is a closed system.
So we have been talking about sustainability for quite some time now.  It is critical to figure out how we can maintain our output in a closed system.  However, sustainability is no longer just about resource sustainability or environmental sustainability.
In the 21st century, the sustainability of our own satisfaction and happiness is at stake because it depends on the sustainability of our economy, which depends on resource/environmental sustainability.  And we are already starting to see the impact.


This is where Zero comes into play.

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Next generation sustainability is not 4.0 or 5.0, it’s 0.0.
By zeroing on our own potential, rather than focusing on the amount of products/services we can get, or on how much efficiency external systems can deliver to us, we can feel mindful satisfaction and live a fulfilling like without relying on “more.”  You can think of this as sustainability Zen.


If you would like to know more about Zero, please start from Zero Intro.  There are also various contents on how to find/leverage Zero in our daily lives and in business.


Zero perspectives in “Small Architecture” by Kengo Kuma

Kuma’s book, “Small Architecture,” is full of inspiration that questions the myth of modern architecture, which has become excessively big, hard and alienating. He advocates small architecture as an alternative, due to its boundless potential.

Chapter 3: Abundance by condensation

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In the previous chapter we leveraged subtraction to test “more,” or quantitative excessiveness.  We now turn to “big,” the excessiveness in size.

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Nature is big.  And nature is beautiful because it’s magnificent and embracing.  If you want to possess the beauty of nature, what would you do?

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Why we need Zero

Why zero?

Before it’s application to math, zero has been the focus of ancient Indian philosophers.  Buddhism embraced zero as part of its core philosophy. 

Buddhism was founded by Buddha (the awakened one), sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.  I was born in Buddhist priest family and grew up hearing the stories about how Siddhārtha Gautama, born in a royal and wealthy family, attained Enlightenment under a pipal tree and became Buddha.

As a young girl who’s never seen the wide world, I was struck by the theme that appeared and reappeared so many times: the world was full of pains, sufferings, fights and wars in Buddha’s era, and that people needed Buddhism to survive in such a harsh environment without losing calmness, modesty and consideration. 

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In Buddha’s era (and pretty much all the time until very recently in our history), humans had to face various types of threats posed by nature on their own.  Food was scarce, diseases were rampant,  extreme weather and natural disasters were uncontrollable.  People had to fight each other for scarce resources.  Death was always next to you.
Buddhism concluded that the ultimate way to deal with such hardships was to extinguish the flame of all sorts of desires and achieve the state of emptiness in your mind.  You had to stop wanting more, since it was the source of fights and sufferings.

Nature human zero

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