This November, MUJI is opening up its highly anticipated second store in the heart of Mississauga. To celebrate its opening, two exhibitions will be held—MUJI Original Posters and MUJI Award: International Design Competition.
Commitment to quality and value
MUJI products were initially developed under the company brand Seiyu, a supermarket chain, in December 1980. The world was suffering from an economic downturn as a result of two oil crises, and consumers were becoming much more critical in examining the balance between quality and price, carefully selecting only the products that suited their individual lifestyles. In 1989, MUJI parted with Seiyu and now more than 7,500 items are sold under the brand. At the company’s upcoming exhibition, visitors can look back at the company’s history and see how it became one of the leading houseware retailers in the world with its innovative product development concepts.
The first 40 items
Initially, 40 items were put on the market as MUJI products. On the packaging of these products, an explanation was provided as to why they were cheaper than other brand name products and how MUJI was able to offer them at such prices.
1981 “Salmon-All Parts Edible”
MUJI’s basic principle is to provide high-quality products at lower prices. This was achieved by avoiding the waste typical of existing products, such as unnecessary parts, over-decoration and excess packaging.
2000 “Quality and Practicality”
For 20 years, MUJI has been suggesting a natural and simple lifestyle to consumers. A consistently minimalist approach enables the company to offer 4,000 high-quality items at a great price point.
2015 “Over 7,500 Items”
As of 2015, MUJI offers over 7,500 items and operates 401 stores in Japan and 301 internationally, some of which are MUJI restaurants (Café & Meal MUJI). From snacks to dinner, simple clothing items to camping gear, MUJI supports your everyday life.
New MUJI products by consumers
MUJI launched an international design competition, asking people all over the world to envision the company and its product line in the future. After all, everyday items can always be made more convenient with the help of innovative ideas.
First held in 2006, the competition was designed to challenge people worldwide to focus on creating a new vision of living with MUJI’s style. Simple but effective and now in its fourth edition, this year’s China-based exhibition will be travelling to several countries before finally arriving in Canada. Designers from 49 countries have submitted 4,824 ideas under the theme of “Long Lasting Design for Living.” Come and see the new and exciting ideas for improved lifestyles!
Shake things up with a fresh idea
Jury’s prize: Lean on Me Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park (Korea)
Small changes lead to big results
Ducking indoors to escape the rain, we often do not know where to place a wet umbrella—but with this item, there’s no need to worry anymore! The tip of the umbrella contains a grippy silicon pad and is cut at the best angle to keep the umbrella stable while it rests against a wall. By making small changes to small parts, Seo and Park managed to make umbrellas more functional and easier to use.
—Jury member, Liu Zhizhi, graphic designer
Jury’s prize: Now, anyone can open the cap on this water bottle Luo Yuying (China)
No need for help anymore
Have you ever had a fight with a water bottle’s tiny plastic cap? Have you had to ask a total stranger to open your bottle for you? Round caps are hard to turn, but square caps make it easy to get leverage and twist. Easy to open, no matter what kind of fingers you have.
Opening one of the ever more ubiquitous water bottles is a challenge to many people, because the round shape with a cheaply made texture offers little resistance by locking the hand. The simple design or a square cube with rounded corners solves the problem—and looks stunningly elegant.
—Jury member, Hartmut Esslinger, product designer
Friday, October 16th—Sunday, November 15th Square One Shopping Centre (100 City Centre Dr., Mississauga)
“MUJI AWARD 04 in CHINA Exhibition with MUJI Poster Archive Exhibition” will be on display at the Square One event space in October, next to the anticipated second Canadian location, which opens in November.
MUJI square One – opens in November!
MUJI’s second Canadian location is set to be bigger than the first store in downtown Toronto, with food items and children’s clothing that will be sold for the first time in Canada. More details of the Mississauga store are coming in the next issue, so stay tuned!