The Creative Director of MUJI Europe visited Madrid to take part in the Cultural Observatory. Students and the general public were able to learn firsthand the secrets and work methods that have created what are already legendary designs.
MUJI, mujirushi ryohin –no-brand quality goods– is one of the most important global design companies in the world. Its concept of simplicity, functionality, originality and low cost is applied to all of its products, which in Japan include from food to architectural design.
Each one of its designs adheres to the observation of a domestic need and the subsequent research into the best format and materials to use. It is committed to durability and reasonable pricing, and it discards superfluous details and ostentation. For Shoji Ito, “beauty and functionality sound different, but they are not really different things. Well-designed products are beautiful”.
He believes that “to design, it is necessary to observe, know and understand society. Many times, the best object for a certain function is already created; in this case, there is no possible improvement to the form, although there is to the material”. Wood and natural, recycled and recyclable materials are his favourites. He encourages future designers to “never give up”, without focusing their career on creating a single “star product” but on developing a creative line centred on investigation and innovation.
For him, one of the secrets of MUJI is the close relationship with the customer. The work of the designer is to create solutions that ensure the greatest comfort possible in everyday life, now and in the future. To do so, simplicity and efficiency are essential, which are something very Japanese that, as Shoji Ito has seen since he moved to London, all of Europe likes.