By Peter Sidell
A friend from Melbourne once told me that she spent 3 hours at the newly-opened, single-storeyed Muji store in Melbourne. Muji, or Mujirushi Ryohin (無印良品), is a Japanese retail company that steers its products towards minimal design, recycling, avoidance of wastage in production and 'no logo' policy. Although Muji has expanded to numerous countries around the world, the shops around the world are only single-storeyed floors containing only a small selection of goods. So having chanced upon this multi level Muji in Shibuya, I was definitely excited to see what was in store, and what exactly my friend spent 3 hours doing.
One is greeted by the sight of bicycles and travel luggages on display upon entering the entrance. Although the floor guide designates the first floor to be bicycle and travel goods, it seems more of an introduction to what the entire building consists of, as there are various snacks, men's and women's clothing, and various stationery all with that distinct Muji aesthetic on display. It's almost as if the first floor is meant to hype up customers, getting them excited about what there is to come on the remaining floors.
The second one floor is something not seen at any Muji boutique: the 'Cafe & Meal MUJI'. A deli-restaurant space, it serves up a variety of cuisine, ranging from tea selections and coffees to snacks and lunches, all within a homely, well-designed interior with wooden floorboards and furniture. There is also a selection of cookbooks and cutlery on sale for the home-maker, and customers can definitely spend more time here relaxing after browsing through the entire building.
It seems that Muji is really astute in predicting the needs of their customers, and that can be seen on the women's, men's and children's section on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors respectively. Besides the clothing selection on each floor, the women's floor has a counter dedicated to a selection of scented oils, and even a Muji staff there to make recommendations. The men's floor has a repair counter for those who want to get their clothes altered or re-stiched, and the children's floor has a fenced playing space for kids. It's this thoughtfulness to customers' needs that make this Muji store such a brilliant concept.
The 6th floor and 7th floor is something not seen in any Muji store: a collaboration between Muji and LOFT, the latter being known for products dedicated to design and craft. The 6th floor is themed 'To live and live with nature', and evidently so in their selection: gardening tools and a myriad of potted plants and greens fill the space, alongside with camping tents and stakes, and even a selection of portable stoves and camping utensils, all designed with that chic Muji aesthetic. The 7th floor is dedicated to all things art and craft: customers can buy a variety of crafted goods, or even make their own art and craft at the LOFT Creation Space.
The biggest floor in the building, however, is the basement. This is where a huge selection of food, kitchenware and living room/bedroom essentials are stocked. Everything is sectioned out nicely on wooden shelves neatly arranged, almost like a Muji gallery, and guests would be tempted to buy some of the amazing stuff on display even if the intention was just to window-shop. This Muji boutique is certainly the most impressive I've seen, and for that aforementioned friend who's coming to Japan, I can foresee her spending an entire day within this place, from open to close.
Was this article helpful?
Singaporean who lived in Melbourne, Australia for 3 years, and undertook a journalism degree. A lover of soul, funk music (Motown especially), and many other forms of music. Love meeting new people, and creative things (art, fashion, photography, design, films...). Currently working at JapanTravel in Tokyo as Operations Manager for the Travel Agency department, and chasing spelling mistakes/grammatical errors in Tokyo