Review: Muji store comes to Sydney

By Penny Craswell

Muji is a Japanese brand that sells a huge range of products – clothes, packaging, storage, stationery, even furniture – under the philosophy of “no brand quality goods”.

Entry to the store. Image: Muji
Entry to the store. Image: Muji

The Sydney store is the third in Australia, after two in Melbourne, and was designed by DKO who worked collaboratively with Muji to translate a global roll out into a design that is specific to its location. One of the key ways in which this has been achieved is through using local materials, such as the timber that lines the walls.

The name “muji” comes from the Japanese word “mujirushi,” meaning “no brand”. Its intention is to provide people with fundamental things for modern life, without frills, creating a collection of high quality, low price products using the best, most sustainable materials and packaging.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Image: Muji
A place for everything and everything in its place. Image: Muji

The name of Muji’s creative director Kenya Hara is not included in the branding in the shop, nor are the names of a number of well known designers who design objects for them. Of course, the “no brand” ethos is paradoxical, as Muji is now known globally for its simple design and affordable prices.

The store is already really busy. Image: Muji
The store is already really busy. Image: Muji

Kenya Hara is a fascinating designer whose book Designing Design was the subject of one of the entries I wrote to the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design two years ago.

As part of this research I came across a Google Talk that Kenya Hara gave on the concept of “emptiness” which is vital to understand the Japanese aesthetic which Westerners often mistake for minimalism.

Muji Sydney is located on L1 of The Galeries Victoria on George Street in the CBD.

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