If you’re a fan of Muji (and who isn’t?) and its minimalist, zen vibes, you’d love to know that the Japanese label recently opened its flagship store in Plaza Singapura, in the heart of town.
And it’s not like your usual Muji store! With many exclusive and new lines that were previously unavailable to Singapore, we take you through some of the flagship’s best offerings.
Found Muji is a concept that was previously unavailable in Singapore. Started in 2003, Muji designers are tasked to source daily objects from around the world and reproduce these curios at a reasonable price while “retaining their original essence”.
While you may not be able to buy the items in this exhibition, you can still marvel at the motley crue ranging from traditional Japanese geta sandals to cute little wooden stools.
For the month of July, the Found Muji section concentrates on the textiles of India. If you’ve always groused that you’d like to find a bit of print in the minimalist’s muse that is Muji, here’s your ticket! The small but well-edited range comprises handwoven rugs, woven baskets, stoles, hemp slippers, tote bags and more.
My pick of the lot? This adorable tote bag ($39) with a block print that was reminiscent of another Japanese giant – Yayoi Kusama. Who, you must already know, is the woman behind the National Gallery Singapore’s Life is the Heart of a Rainbow, that’s exploding all over social media.
P.S. stock is running out fast!
Also new to Singapore is Idee, a subsidiary brand under the Muji group which focuses on homeware and furniture. It is in this section where it feels rather unfamiliar from the usual Muji aesthetic – colours are richer and tend to be darker, and the furniture deviates from the typical clean-cut Muji ware with a more raw and earthy vibe.
For those who hanker for one-off items and exotic curios, you’ll probably be stuck in the Idee section for a good while. I was particularly taken with this “wall hanging” piece by California-based ceramic artist Heather Levine, which at first glance from afar, looked like a tribal necklace.
Love Japanese-style tableware? Take your game up a notch with the Kosen series by Idee. Each set comes in its own paulownia wood box and is made in Japan’s Gifu prefecture. Plus, the colours are way too cute to pass up on.
While part of the Labo range has been made available at Muji’s ION Orchard branch recently, the new flagship store stocks a bigger collection. Think of the Labo label as a more elevated range of its usual offerings.
Fun fact: The Labo line, which was started in 2005, was previously available in Singapore at the Paragon store, but was removed and only makes its return this year at Plaza Singapura.
For fashion folks, why should you care? Well, when Labo first started, it was deisgned by Yohji Yamamoto’s team and boasted a more fashion-inclined slant – though still true to Muji ideals, of course. Think of it as the next generation of basics, if you will – refreshing silhouettes, practical designs, and unconstrained styles.
However, the line appears to have undergone a rebranding, and whatever edge it had before seems to have been toned down. Eihter that, or the Muji Singapore buyers are being rather conservative in their buying selection.
Oh, and food. The flagship store is also home to the Muji-in-house restaurant, entitled Cafe & Meal. The stylish lighting installation lends a noticeably darker ambience to the usual Muji aesthetic we’re used to.
Plus, dishes exclusive to the Plaza Singapura store: The introduction of two new dishes: pork katsudon donburi and cheese baked butter curry chicken rice.
Bright colours? At Muji? colour me shocked. The range however, is actually a collaboration with quirky Japanese textile label Mina Perhonen, entitled Pool. The Pool project aims to be more environmentally conscious by reusing leftover fabrics to create new products. Combining environmental sustainability with lovely colours? I’m sold.
By Keng Yang Shuen, Female, July 2017
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