Kenya Hara on MUJI

I love this quote from Kenya Hara of MUJI, via my Automattic colleague and design cylon Michael Pick.

We don’t want to be the thing that kindles or incites intense appetite, causing outbursts like “This is what I really want,” or “I simply must have this.” If most brands are about that, MUJI should be after its opposite. We want to give customers the kind of satisfaction that comes out as “this will do,” not “this is what I want.” It’s not appetite, but acceptance. Even within acceptance, however, there is an appropriate level. Our goal is to elevate it as high as possible…

…I would like to recognize the fact that desire sometimes involves obsession, causes egoism, or strikes a sour note. I wonder if humankind, having rushed after desire, has finally reached an impasse. Both the consumer society and individual cultures, chasing after desire and driven by appetite, are hitting a wall. In this sense, today we should value the qualities at work in acceptance: moderation, concession, and detached reason. Might acceptance be a form with one more level of freedom? Acceptance might involve resignation and slight dissatisfaction, but raising the level of acceptance thoroughly eliminates both. To generate “this will do,” by creating this very dimension of acceptance, one that is clearly self-confident and also truly competitive in a free economic society: this is MUJI’s vision.

One Reply to “Kenya Hara on MUJI”

  1. Glad you liked that! It’s an incredible book, and like a lot of thinking put into MUJI, there’s this understated, counterintuitive brilliance in some of the ideas, especially on the intersection of brand and design. There’s a really thoughtful review of it over on this blog, with some more choice quotes and some good analysis.

    While I’m in pimping mode, they just put out a MUJI monograph I have arriving tomorrow – will let you know if it’s any good.

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