Vinyl Umbrella by Muji
The exhibition of Japanese design departmentstore Muji ‘Product fitness 80’ in the London Design Museum is inspired by Japanese moderation, which Mujis thinks of as the basic principle of the minimalism that characterises their products.
The exhibition is examining what would happen if 20% less materials and energy were used to make everyday products.
In line with strict environmental policies of both companies, materials and manufacturing processes have been carefully selected both for their minimal impact on the environment and for their cost.
‘Muji manufactured by Thonet’ is a collection of simplified, stylised Thonet designs made of bentwood and tubular steel, manufactured to Thonet’s customary high standards at their Frankenberg HQ and available exclusively at Muji stores in Japan, Germany, Paris and the UK.
The tubular steel series was created by Konstantin Grcic and comprises a chair and desk in three sizes. Three polypropylene drawers can be suspended beneath the MDF table top.
By uniting the design heritage, skilled craftsmanship and manufacturing capabilities of Thonet with the streamlined design aesthetic of Muji, not to mention its youthful, design savvy audience, beautiful designs gain new relevance for today’s modern, urban lifestyle. The beech bentwood collection takes Thonet’s most famous bentwood chair, No. 14, as its inspiration. (This design – now called the 214 chair – still features in the Thonet collection, this year celebrating its 150th birthday.)
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The beech, bent wood collection was designed by Milan-based, British creative director of Thonet James Irvine and features a single panel supporting the back of the chair, which aligns with the accompanying table top.
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There are plans to enhance the collection in the near future. Both Muji and Thonet have collaborated with international designers in the past. What is ground breaking for both companies is their decision to work together with named designers to reinterpret important design masterpieces from Thonet’s historic back catalogue, making them accessible to a younger, broader, ‘Muji’ marketplace.
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