You may not know that the word “Muji” is actually a derivative of the Japanese term for “no brand quality goods.” And, fittingly enough, the New York flagship store for Muji , a Japanese retail company with an emphasis on design minimalism, is easy to miss. But in its home country, the brand is famous as a comprehensive lifestyle store, complete with Muji cafes and even Muji modular homes. And in the coming years, the company plans a widespread expansion in the U.S.
As would be expected from the understated company, the global expansion was released with little fanfare. Rather, it was revealed in almost hushed tones during New York's design week. To celebrate the launch of the Body Fit Cushion, a long-time bestseller in Japan which is finally debuting in the U.S. market, Muji commissioned a “Rest Stop” within the store. Crafted locally in Brooklyn, a white oak pentagonal pavilion with steel framing and unbleached cotton screens reminiscent of shoji blended into the store's retail environment. Two of the microbead beanbags reclined on the floor, surrounded by two sound consoles with head phones and aroma diffusers.
President Asako Shimazaki had arrived for Design Week and to kick off the campaign. She spoke of plans to bring the Muji lifestyle to Americans and the importance of minimalism, allowing the human body and mind to escape the frenetic cityscape. In the next year, two new locations will open, one in New York and another in Palo Alto, California. But much more is in store for the quiet brand. Stay tuned!