Muji Takes Manhattan

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It's here! It's here! Excitement is brewing among those in the design-know about the U.S. arrival of Muji, a company whose name basically means "generic" in Japanese. Originally known as Mujirushi Ryohin, which literally translates to "no brand quality goods," the Japanese retailer of afforable products, everything from stationery to furniture, will open its first North American store on November 16 at 455 Broadway in New York's Soho district, just footsteps away from another design-minded Japanese giant, Uniqlo, which opened its flagship shop there last year. Muji's products have gained distinction essentially
for their non-distinctness. Their often clean, simple and neutral look stems from a design ethic espousing that the value of the product lies in what it is, not in its brand or the person who created it (a bold statement, given that some of Muji's products are conceived by some of the most preeminent names in the design community, including Naoto Fukusawa, Jasper Morrison and Enzo Mari). Until now, U.S. shoppers could obtain only a limited selection of Muji wares at the MoMA design store, but at the new store they'll now be able to choose from a selection of more than 2000 products, from pen refills and umbrellas to bedframes and tatami mats.

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