23 October 2018
Put them together and what do they add up to? Photo: MUJI
Put them together and what do they add up to? Photo: MUJI

Less is more but what is it good for?

Less is more but what is it good for?

Japanese consumer goods retailer MUJI has built a name for itself by making minimalism a household word. Its reach extends from Europe to Asia and this year it chose Shanghai to host its international design competition for the first time.

The competition attracted thousands of entries from designers in close to 50 countries. The idea was to do more with less and create everyday products designed to last. 

But it’s not always immediately clear what some of the winning entries are supposed to be. Japanese designer Muneo Ariga picked up a bronze in the contest for her crafted cutouts from wetsuit-like material. But what are they? The answer: A reboot of the shoe concept. The velcro and spongy fabric can be wrapped around a foot to create a comfortable, one-size-fits-all shoe that is particularly suited to the elderly. 

Taiwanese designers Lu Jiajheng and Cheng Yating also won bronze for their solution to confined indoor living. Their “Door in Door” concept opens up space within the door to hang clothes and other items like towels. With at least four doorframes in most apartments, the idea opens up that much more space for storage. 

The next design is a simple, yet useful and practical, product to show the way for people relying on a walking stick. It’s called the “stick of light” and is co-designed by Japanese designers Kazuhiro Ueda, Takahiro Ueda and Tomomi Ueda. It’s a combination of durable translucent synthetic material and environmentally friendly LED lighting that could be particularly useful in China.

“In China, staircases in many buildings either do not have any lighting or lights are installed but usually not turned on, and the stick has effectively solved the problem,” the judges said. 

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A pair of comfortable one-size-fits-all rubber shoes. Photo: MUJI

Two Taiwanese designers reframed indoor storage with this sleek concept. Photo: MUJI

The "stick of light" could show the way for elderly in aging countries like China. Photo: MUJI

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