Muji lovers of New York, rejoice! An exhibition devoted to the iconic Japanese ‘non-brand’ opened as part of New York Design Week and will be up at the Muji Soho pop-up location at 434 Broadway until 29 May. The exhibition is actually a collaboration with Ladies & Gentlemen, a Brooklyn-based design studio I first wrote about three years ago. The duo behind Ladies & Gentlemen, Dylan Davis and Jean Lee, are one pair to be trusted with handling the subtleties of working with Muji’s aesthetic. Over the years of working together, they have developed a sophisticated understanding of how to combine materials, shapes, and colours, and really make them sing. Their skills have led them to work in art direction and interiors, as well as designing their own line of products that includes lighting, furniture, and jewellery.
For their commission for Muji, Ladies & Gentlemen created a Material Garden. This non-living ‘garden’ references traditional Japanese Zen gardens. It is split into a series of sections divided by pebbled paths. Each section is devoted to a particular material that commonly features in Muji’s repertoire. There are sections that home in on wood, ceramics, plastic, and water. A few Muji household products are presented alongside the material backdrop that breaks them down to their ‘elemental’ form within the Muji universe. Visitors can stroll among the installations and peacefully contemplate the gentle tactile display. If you are in New York then wrap your body in some Muji organic cotton and immerse your senses in this distillation of their aesthetic.