Friday, 16 April 2010

Quality of Life Improvement 4: Muji Wall-Mounted CD Player

Muji's slick wall-mounted CD player has long been available to neophiles in Asia and Europe and is, at long last, finally for sale in the Western Hemisphere through the MUJI USA online store.

Inspired by classic ventilation fans, Muji's wall-mounted CD player is operated by pulling on its dangling electrical cord. We at The Hawaiian Sybarite admire immensely such simplicity in a world of ever-increasing technocratic complication, and apparently we're not the only ones admiring the design; the CD player is part of the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.

We've been fans of designer Naoto Fukasawa (深澤直人) for some time, appreciating his ability to create products in which sophisticated technology is elegantly simplified by a rational, clarified, æsthetic shell. He has elevated hair dryers to design objects for National Matsushita and his refreshingly simplistic mobile-telephones for KDDI (株式会社, KDDI Kabushiki Gaisha) present a counterpoint to the ophidian technology foisted upon the public by iPhone and friends. Fukasawa's designs for Japanese firm Plus Minus Zero include a much talked-about flat-screen television that resembles cathode ray tube televisions of the 1950s because, as he said, “It’s not about making things thin just because you can."

Muji (無印良品, Mujirushi Ryōhin), has, since its formation in 1989, distinguished itself by its minimalistic approach to design and its marketing ethos wherein Muji goods are "lower priced for a reason." Mujirushi Ryōhin is translated as "No Brand Quality Goods" on Muji's European website, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Muji "aspires to modesty and plainness" while declaring itself to be "rational, and free of agenda, doctrine, and 'isms.'"

With that explained, Muji also informs on their website that "the heart of Muji design is the Japanese concept of 'Kanketsu,' the concept of simplicity," a philosophy that imparts "a quiet sense of calm into strenuous everyday lives."

A quiet sense of calm is all well and good in a zendō, but there are few things that we at The Hawaiian Sybarite like more than forgotten, trash music from the 1980s being played loud enough to reverberate through the fillings in our teeth.

If you are inclined to join us, the Muji wall-mounted CD player ($178) is available directly from MUJI USA and the MUJI USA online store.

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