Muji enters the tiny house game, showcases its line of wonderfully minimalist ‘Muji Huts’

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RocketNews 24 (by Philip Kendall):

Japan does small better than pretty much any other country in the world. From intricate origami to beautiful bonsai to sushi made with barely a dozen grains of rice, the Japanese people are known for their dexterity and attention to detail.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that Japanese retailer Muji is now getting into the tiny house movement and recently showcased its range of prefabricated ‘Muji Hut’ minimalist homes and hangouts.

As a keen follower of the tiny house movement, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours poring over videos, plans and concepts of small, minimalist homes built either out of financial necessity or by those who wish to simplify their lives. These micro-home owners have an altogether different view of what a house should be, keeping their possessions to an absolute minimum (or creating clever storage solutions to keep them out of the way), designing their homes so that rooms function differently depending on the time of day, and embracing a lifestyle that favours the use of shared spaces. It’s not what you’ve got but how you use it, they maintain, and it’s hard to argue when you see how happy this approach to life makes them.

Although its name is more likely to conjure up images of beige rugs, plain lampshades and stationery than one of architecture and floor plans, Muji—known as Mujirushi Ryouhin (lit. ‘no-logo goods’) in its homeland—has been building pre-fabricated homes for quite some time in Japan under the name of Muji House. These simple yet stylish homes are light, airy and functional, not to mention much more affordable than typical homes in Japan, and they seem to be growing in popularity every day.

And now, for those who want to downsize even further, the company has unveiled Muji Hut—a series of three prefabricated buildings of varying styles and dimensions suitable for either straight-up minimalist living or as weekend retreats or shelters.

First up is the ultra-small Arumi no Koya (lit. “aluminium hut”) by industrial designer Konstantin Grcic.

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As its name suggests, the building is covered with in sheets of aluminium on all four sides, with a front that can be folded out to create additional shelter and a small deck, or closed for additional privacy and security.

The interior, while incredibly bare-bones, is surprisingly light and cosy thanks to the shoji paper doors on the front of the unit. The Arumi no Koya comes minus any kind of fittings besides a simple wooden ladder, but with its high ceiling and private loft space up above, this could easily be used as anything from a simple, single-person weekend dwelling to a artist’s studio or office space.

▼ You might want to add a few more bits and pieces to make it more homely…

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▼ The shoji paper doors allow light to pour in while giving the owner privacy

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Next up is a design that fans of Japanese interiors will no doubt immediately fall in love with. The Koruku no Koya (“cork hut”) was designed by English product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison and features, as its name implies, cork cladding on its exterior as well as a narrow, distinctive Japanese-style deck which surrounds the building.

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Morrison’s design features a simple kitchen area, dining space and spacious living/sleeping area fitted with soft tatami-mat flooring, perfect for lazing around on while the wood-burning fire in the corner gets the place nice and warm.

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The third and final structure, Ki no Koya (“wooden hut”), was designed by Japan’s own Naoto Fukusawa and is perhaps the most livable of the three designs, even for those unfamiliar with the tiny house movement.

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The interior features a kitchenette, bathtub, wood-burning stove and dining area. The entire front of the house, meanwhile, is covered in glass to allow for plenty of natural light to enter. It looks wonderfully snug and inviting and we desperately wish we lived here.

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They may appear unfeasibly small to some of our readers in the west, but in actuality many of the “one-room” apartments let out in Japan’s urban hubs offer less floorspace than the Muji’s two larger weekend retreats here, so with some careful planning and cutting back on one’s worldly possessions living in one would be quite possible.

MUJI features simplicity and functionality in its 2015 “MUJI to GO” Collection

Known for its plethora of offerings covering everything from home goods and toiletries to snacks and stationary, MUJI has added to its product range with its “MUJI to GOcollection for 2015. As the video above shows, MUJI has a traveler covered every step of the way, with notebooks, suitcases, neck rests, windbreakers and more aiming to make your travels as pleasant and minimally tasteful as possible.

Shop the entire collection here.

Muji (Japan) furnishes Narita International Airport’s new Terminal 3

Muji announces reduced pricing on over 650 items

Distinguished by its minimal designs that avoid waste in production and packaging, Muji has offered quality household and consumer good for the past 30 years. The Japanese retail company recently announced that it’ll be carrying out a permanent price cut on over 650 items in its U.S. locations. One in four products will be re-repriced. For example, notebooks will be marked down from $5.75 USD to $4 USD, clothing bushes from $24.25 USD to $18 USD.

The price reduction aligns with Muji’szutto yoi ne’ — Japanese for “always good price” — philosophy to always provide affordable items to its customers. While this is a common practice in Muji’s Japanese retailers, it is the first time Muji’s introduced this system to the U.S.

MUJI 2015 Spring/Summer “Cotton of MUJI” lookbook

 

MUJI (Japan) updates its Air Purifier design

MUJI designs vertical house in Tokyo that accommodates city living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

 

Making use of little space, Japanese retail company MUJI has designed a home for the city dweller in mind. Making proper use of natural light and sectioned floors, the three-storey home maximizes living space and assembles functions of the daily life in close proximity to ensure an efficient home. Free of internal walls or doors, connecting activities are built around the same floor; storage area connected to the utility room, dinning room with kitchen and living room next to a large north-facing window.

As building out was not an option, the home takes on a slim and vertical facade that is both simple and very natural looking — a definite translation from its design philosophy seen in home products.

 

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

 Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

Image of MUJI Designs Vertical House In Tokyo That Accommodates City Living

MUJI to Open Store in Vancouver

Image of MUJI to Open Store in Vancouver

The understated rival to a familiar Japanese retail favorite, MUJI has set its sights on the Canadian frontier moving into the next year. Reports have announced that aside from a confirmed location in Toronto, MUJI will seek bi-coastal dominance with a shop in Vancouver as well. The news comes on the heels of the brand’s success with nine locations in the United States, which include five in New York City alone and four across California.

MUJI is currently securing its own Canadian leases, a move consistent with the brand’s admirable cost-effective advertising, location and research philosophies. Look for the MUJI Vancouver location to arrive in 2015.

Link

2013 Holiday Guide to Japanese Shopping in New York

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you absolutely dread shopping. If you’re having trouble finding the right gift, this guide will give you ideas for unique gifts and products made with Japanese craftsmanship and ingenuity.

Christmas, shopping, Christmas shopping, Japanese stores in NYC, NYC, New York, holidays, gifts, presents, UNIQLO, Muji, Kamakura Shirts

Traditional Japanese Gifts/Kimono

  • Kimono House
    131 Thompson Street (between Houston and Prince Streets)
    Kimono House is a full-service store specializing in kimono, obi, yukata, and haori (jackets) in a wide range of styles and prices and designs for men, women, and children.
  • Kimono Lovers Brooklyn
    kimonoloversbrooklyn.com
    This online store offers kimono, haori (jackets), and obi (sashes) at affordable prices.
  • Kiteya
    464 Broome Street (between Green and Mercer Streets)
    Kiteya features a blend of traditional craftworks and contemporary design. You’ll find exotic kimono and delicate accessories, elegant paper, and children’s clothing in this expansive shop.
  • Kyotoya
    23 W. 19th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
    This tiny Chelsea shop is packed with an assortment of beautiful goods from Japan: Stationery, toys, ukiyo-e prints, even kimono. Kyotoya also has a wide selection of teapots as well as tea.

Christmas, shopping, Christmas shopping, Japanese stores in NYC, NYC, New York, holidays, gifts, presents, UNIQLO, Muji, Kamakura Shirts

Arts and Antiques

  • About Glamour
    107A N. 3rd Street – Williamsburg, Brooklyn
    A multi-retail space selling vintage clothing, antiques, and Japaense stationery, About Glamour also serves as an art gallery.
  • Makari
    97 3rd Avenue (between 12th and 13th Streets)
    Makari is a Japanese antiques store that also serves as a gallery showcasing the work of Japanese artists. In addition to art, Makari offers tableware, lacquerware, and ceramics.
  • Shibui
    306 Water Street – DUMBO, Brooklyn
    You’ll find a full range of beautiful and elegant Japanese goods at Shibui.

Christmas, shopping, Christmas shopping, Japanese stores in NYC, NYC, New York, holidays, gifts, presents, UNIQLO, Muji, Kamakura Shirts

Household

  • Japanese Culinary Center
    711 3rd Avenue (entrance at 45th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
    You don’t have to be a culinary professional to shop at Japanese Culinary Center, an excellent place to find tableware, knives, and kitchen supplies.
  • Korin
    57 Warren Street (between W. Broadway and Church Street)
    Korin has serious knives for the serious chef. You can also find a variety of kitchen utensils and beautiful tableware.
  • MUJI
    620 8th Avenue at 40th Street
    16 W. 19th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
    455 Broadway (between Grand and Howard Streets)
    Japan’s famous “no brand” store has four locations here in New York. You can find MUJI in Times Square, Chelsea, Soho, and – if you’re really procrastinating – at JFK before your flight to your parents’ house for Christmas. MUJI’s concept is all about simplicity and functionality; it doesn’t quibble with the fru-fru stuff. Unpretentious clothing, clean and balanced storage solutions, well designed kitchen gadgets, and basic electronics are sold here, making it the perfect place for the practical person on your gift list. Since MUJI is dedicated to efficiency and eco-friendliness, you can feel good about making green gift choices during this holiday season.
  • Sara Japanese Pottery
    950 Lexington Avenue (between 69th and 70th Streets)
    Find Japanese dinnerware, glassware, and accessories in ceramics, glass, bamboo, textiles, and lacquer made by both Japanese and American artists at Sara, an Upper East Side establishment that Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s calls his “favorite pottery source in New York.”

Christmas, shopping, Christmas shopping, Japanese stores in NYC, NYC, New York, holidays, gifts, presents, UNIQLO, Muji, Kamakura Shirts

Clothing

  • A Bathing Ape
    91 Greene Street (between Prince and Spring Streets)
    A Bathing Ape, run by popular Japanese DJ Nigo, is a clothing store that focuses on casual comfort.
  • Atmos
    203 W. 125th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
    First opened in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood, Atmos sells all kinds of sneakers and other footwear in Harlem.
  • Blue in Green
    8 Greene Street (between Canal and Grand Streets)
    Men’s clothing store Blue in Green specializes in Japanese denim.
  • Entrepreneur New York
    29 Kenmare Street (between Mott and Elizabeth Streets)
    For the person on your gift list who is into streetwear, Entrepreneur New York provides a mix of fashion from American and Japanese underground cultures.
  • Habu Textiles
    135 W. 29th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues), Suite 804
    Named after the poisonous snake from Okinawa, Habu Textiles is a yarn and fabric store that sells patterns for people who can actually make their own clothing.
  • Kamakura Shirts
    400 Madison Avenue (between 47th and 48th Streets)
    A purveyor of made-to-measure men’s shirts, Kamakura Shirts is a place for the consummate professional on your list. JapanCulture•NYC attended the store’s first anniversary party and learned first-hand about the owners’ commitment to quality and customer service.
  • Nepenthes
    307 W. 38th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
    Named after a tropical pitcher plant, Nepenthes carries Engineered Garments and other top quality clothing for men and women.
  • Seigo Neckwear
    1248 Madison Avenue (between 89th and 90th Streets)
    762 Third Avenue (at 47th Street)
    Once you’ve purchased shirts Kamakura Shirts, why not buy Japanese-style ties to go with them?Seigo Neckwear has unique designs made of 100% pure silk woven in Kyoto and hand-blocked silk-screened ties produced in Niigata.
  • Self Edge
    157 Orchard Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets)
    Self Edge is another denim store that carries the best Japanese brands.
  • UNIQLO
    666 5th Avenue (at 53rd Street)
    31 W. 34th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
    546 Broadway (between Prince and Spring Streets)
    If you want funky-cool clothing for the fashion-conscious loved one on your list, head to UNIQLO. From outerwear to underwear, UNIQLO has everything you might need in bright, solid colors and comfortable material. The company is partnered with manufacturers to create stylish casual wear at affordable prices.
  • Yamak
    321 Bleecker Street (between Christopher and Grove Streets)
    Run by Japanese designer Kanako Morino Mirenda, Yamak is a charming boutique selling chic women’s clothing and accessories.

Christmas, shopping, Christmas shopping, Japanese stores in NYC, NYC, New York, holidays, gifts, presents, UNIQLO, Muji, Kamakura Shirts

Books, Anime, and Manga

  • Kinokuniya
    1073 Avenue of the Americas (between 40th and 41st Streets)
    If the bookworms on your list like books about Japan, Kinokuniya has you covered. Kinokuniya is THE bookstore of Japan, stocking books about Japanese culture, pop culture, history, aesthetics – you name it. In addition to books, they have CDs by Japanese musicians, DVDs of Japanese popular movies and anime, and unique gift items. Design shop Waza is located on the second floor.
  • Book Off
    49 W. 45th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)
    Book Off buys and sells secondhand books and CDs. There is a wide range of titles (Japanese and English) that fit any budget.
  • Forbidden Planet
    832 Broadway (between 12th and 13th Streets)
    The place to go for manga and anime, Forbidden Planet has a ton of toys, too.
  • Image Anime
    242 W. 30th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
    With a wide assortment of action figures and model kits, Image Anime prides itself on being the “ultimate source for Japanese anime collectibles.”
  • Midtown Comics
    200 W. 40th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues), 2nd Floor
    459 Lexington Avenue (at 45th Street)
    64 Fulton Street (at Gold Street)
    FAO Schwarz – 767 5th Avenue (at 58th Street)
    Midtown Comics carries a selection of manga, anime, and Japanese action figures.

Gadgets and Games

  • AC Gears
    69 E. 8th Street (between University Place and Greene Street)
    A great place to go for the gadget geek. AC Gears has the latest electronic gizmos from Japan, including headphones and watches.
  • Kidrobot
    126 Prince Street (between Greene and Wooster Streets)
    Kidrobot is a producer and retailer of designer toys, importing items from Japan, Hong Kong, and Europe.
  • My Plastic Heart
    210 Forsyth Street (between Houston and Stanton Streets)
    Shop My Plastic Heart for designer toys such as kaiju and Japanese vinyl.
  • Nintendo World Store
    10 Rockefeller Plaza (between 48th and 49th Streets)
    The place to go for Nintendo games, accessories, clothing, and toys, Nintendo World Store also has a section dedicated Pokémon. If you want a break from shopping, stop buy and play games.
  • Sanrio
    233 W. 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
    Sanrio’s Times Square boutique features the cutest toys and accessories from its line of adorable characters, most notably Hello Kitty.
  • Toy Tokyo
    91 2nd Avenue (between 5th and 6th Streets)
    Many of Toy Tokyo’s products are from Japan and Hong Kong, but they sell domestic items as well.
  • Toy Qube
    37-06 Prince Street, Flushing, Queens
    Another store that boasts toys and other items from Japan and Hong Kong, Toy Qube’s Queens location offers an alternative to fighting the crowds in the city.
  • Zakka
    155 Plymouth Street – DUMBO, Brooklyn
    Limelight Marketplace – 47 W. 20th Street (at 6th Avenue)
    Zakka is a specialty store for Japanese design books, toys, and shirts by Japanese artists.

Sweets

  • Minamoto Kitchoan
    509 Madison Avenue (between 52nd and 53rd Streets)
    For luxurious wagashi, traditional Japanese confectionery, head to Minamoto Kitchoan.
  • Roycé Chocolates
    509 Madison Avenue (between 52nd and 53rd Streets)
    Hailing from Sapporo in Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, Roycé, the inventors of the potatochip chocolate, has milky, melt-in-your-mouth products sure to please the sweet tooth on your Christmas list.

If you don’t want to fight the crowds, here are two online dealers of Japanese products:

  • Tesage
    Handbags and accessories designed and made by Yukiko Sato
  • Wuhao New York
    Site for Japanese tenugui, Japan’s most versatile cloth

Check out this link:

2013 Holiday Guide to Japanese Shopping in New York