Japanese lifestyle store, Muji sets up shop in the city
In a country known for its affinity for all things bright and shiny, Japanese brand, Muji certainly cuts an incongruous picture. One begins to wonder if a brand, loved the world over for its no-frills, uncluttered aesthetic will sit well with the average Indian. But if the launch of the Bengaluru store is anything to go by, it’s surely well poised to find favour with people across age groups, professions and backgrounds. Says Darshan Mehta, the CEO of Reliance Brands India, which has brought the brand to the country, “That’s a point a lot of people have been wondering about. But if you give a person a good quality product, at a reasonable price, he or she will definitely love it. At Muji, every product, from a simple pen to a pillow has an element of functionality that shines through, despite the simplicity of its design.”
Spread across 6,000 square feet, the store is well laid out, with neatly divided sections for home decor, stationery and apparel. The interiors are in keeping with their stores worldwide and the brand philosophy — neat and easy with muted and earthy colours dominating. One can’t help but think about Japanese author Marie Kondo and her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Their food section, hugely popular across the world has not yet been introduced in India owing to strict government restrictions, but there have been hints that it might be available sometime in the future. Launched back in 1980s Japan as a line of household products under the name Mujirushi Ryohin or No Brand Quality Goods, the brand today has over 700 stores across the globe — one of their largest being the recently opened flagship store in New York, which covers an area of 11,000 square feet.
Over the years, the brand has stayed true to its philosophy, sticking to creating products that are truly functional, and with no branding whatsoever. Take for example, the beads sofa. Essentially a bean bag, it’s filled with micro beads, that help take the shape of your body ensuring maximum comfort. Then, there are the acrylic lunch boxes which come with a tiny opening on the lid, which when covered create a vacuum and lock in liquids. With their self standing cleaning systems, you don’t have to worry about getting your walls dirty by propping the mops against them.
Zero gravity pencils that don’t make your fingers hurt with extended use, customisable notebooks, refillable pens and aroma diffusers are sure to keep you interested, while the apparel section is a haven for those who favour minimal, normcore fashion. Made only from natural fabrics, the large section (40 percent to be exact) holds everything from shirts and sweatshirts to light cashmere tops, shoes and tote bags in soothing shades of grey, black and blue for men, women and kids.
One of the much-talked-about ventures by the brand is Found Muji, which adopts practices from various countries, that fit in with Muji’s principles. A notable product to come out of this program is their right-angle socks. Originally handmade by a Czech grandmother for her grandkids, the Japanese brand adopted the design, which fit better than the conventional 120-degree angle socks. Now, the socks are available across all their locations.
Having opened another store in Mumbai earlier this year, the brand is concentrating on building a strong following before setting up in other cities and going online in India.
Rs 40 upwards. At VR Bengaluru, Whitefield. Details: 42565928
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo