Naoto Fukasawa helps Muji launch its first hotel
Fukusawa’s minimal product designs gild this paired-down new Japanese hotel in China
You could probably guess who launched this sleek new hotel, solely on the strength of its room inventories. Listed among the standard complementary items and fixtures, beside toothbrushes and body wash, is a wall-mounted CD player.
Few hotels would offer guests such a player, and fewer still would screw it on to the wall. Yet Muji – the minimalist Japanese retailer - understands how Naoto Fukasawa's simple wall-mounted player, which is operated with a tug on its power chord, gilds a room’s visual and aural ambience.
The CD player is just one of many Fukasawa-designed items included in the Japanese firm’s first venture into hospitality. The 79-room hotel in Shenzhen – China’s manufacturing capital and possibly the place where many of those CDs originate – also features Fukasawa’s Real Furniture wooden chair and his electric kettle among its room inventory, and offers plenty more items in its shop which, alongside a gym, a diner, three meeting rooms and a library, forms part of the hotel’s greater offerings.
Fukasawa’s consumer durables might seem like modest items to furnish a new hotel room; yet Muji understands how Fukasawa’s modest, exquisitely simple designs smooth out a minimal interior, especially in a place like Shenzhen, which has done so much to fill our own homes with cheap new possessions. A stay at this Muji hotel – the first in a chain, with branches opening in Beijing and Tokyo soon – may remind manufacturers why less is sometimes more.
To see many more of Fukasawa's designs, order a copy of his book Naoto Fukasawa: Embodiment here.