Muji Award 04: A little happiness in a shape
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The theme of the MUJI AWARD 04 was “Long Lasting Design for Living”. The jury included Naoto Fukasawa, Kenya Hara, Chang Yung Ho, Wang Shu, Liu Zhizhi, Alan Chan, Ray Chen, Jasper Morrison, Hartmut Esslinger and Wenhsin Wang. Naoto Fukasawa (MUJI Advisor, Product Designer): The judges were split on which idea should be selected for the gold award, "Storage book" or "Pebble chalk." The two divided groups energetically discussed for a long time but never came to a conclusion. While both understood each other´s opinion, each side tried to convince the other. The group for "Storage book"argued that everyone has the problem as where to store small items and liked the idea that they can be stored in a book-shaped box which can be placed upright in the bookshelf. Meanwhile, the group for "Stone chalk" argued for a playful stationery solution, a chalk shaped like a stone, derived from the behavior of drawing and writing on the road using a stone. We couldn´t decide which is more MUJI-like, resulting in the ruling that the gold award goes to both. It was a heated discussion but a peaceful one. There is no difference between both works in the sense that they turn a little happiness found in our lives into a shape. In that sense, all the judges felt happy with the final judgment.
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Pebble Chalk by Kohei Odaka (JAPAN) Chalk shaped like a pebble. When we were kids, we would use pebbles to draw pictures on the ground. This product brings us forward in design, yet back to a time when drawing was fun and the instrument you used provided a sense of peace and security.
Storage Book by Ip Chi Chuen (HONG KONG) "Sorting things" is a part of our lives, but you may often have trouble finding a place to store things after sorting them. As a solution to this problem, I made a storage case shaped like a book to make it easier to decide where to place. This MUJI PP case is designed to have the same shape and size as a normal book and the spine on which an identification sticker can be attached. It is an idea where a book on a bookshelf has an ability to store things.
Quick-Cut Adhesive Tape by Cui Jing (CHINA) This tape provides a non-tacky section along its length with perforations to allow for ease when opening boxes or packages. No more need for scissors or knives to open that box.
Now , anyone can open the cap on this water bottle by Luo Yuying (CHINA) No need for help with that hard-to-open water bottle. Round caps are hard to turn, but a square cap makes it easy to get leverage and twist. Easy to open, no matter what kind of fingers you have.
LEAN ON ME by no frame [Cheol Woong Seo/Jae Hee Park] (KOREA) We often do not know where to place a wet umbrella. "LEAN ON ME" is a useful umbrella which can be easily leaned against any wall. The tip of the umbrella contains a grippy silicon pad and is cut at the best angle to keep the umbrella stable while being leaned against the wall. This is an offer to make an umbrella easier to use by making some changes to small parts.
Ru Chair by Lotta Tu (TAIWAN) I made this work with an idea of how wonderful it would be if a chair can grow up together with children. The idea came from a nursing chair used back in the earliest days of Taiwan. When both parents worked, they put their children in the chair. When the mother was on a break, she sat on the chair rolled over to 90 degrees and took care of the children. In this offer, I redesigned for more safety by using softer edges than a chair used at the time so that the chair will not be tipped over.
Snap and Roll Toy Series by Mariko Higaki Iwai (USA) "Snap and Roll Toy Series" is a toy system with which children can play for years on three phases. The first phase is learning colors, shapes, and sounds using each ball. The second phase is playing by connecting balls with the bridge. The third phase is enjoying a puppet play using an animal set and a vehicle set. Children can play with this toy for years only by adding items instead of replacing with a new toy every year.
Touch Puzzle by Kohsuke Toda (JAPAN) This is a puzzle where pieces can be put together by using not a picture but the sense of fingertips. The puzzle is made of five pieces with different surface quality depending on concentrations (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%), such as "smooth" and "rough." I wanted to make an educational toy that not only contributes to development of sense of fingertips but also delivers its sensitivity to be shared as human knowledge.
stick of light by 36℃ [Kazuhiro Ueda/Takahiro Ueda/Tomomi Ueda] (JAPAN) A stick used for light. As our population ages, products must be safer to use, for personal safety and crime prevention. Our environment is constantly changing, and not always in ways that make us safer. This stick light offers safety, peace of mind, and emotional relief.
STACK PIN by Huang Shihao (TAIWAN) I designed a pin with not a traditional round shape but a shape where pins can be stacked on top of each other. My pins can be neatly kept together in one place without being scattered and also be easily pulled out of the wall.
Understand your shoulder by Zhou Tuo (CHINA) A person always has a different shoulder height depending on the situation, such as when relaxing, moving, or carrying luggage. Therefore, I thought I could apply an ancient Chinese design, where the rope length can be changed using the structure of a pulley, to a bag. You can adjust the length of two straps attached to the bottom of the bag to match the height of your shoulders.
Paper Sink Tidy by Kentaro Ito/Rumie Ito (JAPAN) A sink-corner basket for kitchen refuse can be unsanitary by getting moldy. Having a triangle-shaped garbage bag made of draining paper allows you to just throw it away when finishing kitchen work. You can place this sink-corner basket only when you use it, so your kitchen is always kept simple and clean. This item is also environmentally friendly because it is made of kenaf, which grows fast and has a high absorption of carbon dioxide, and bamboo pulp.
Round Sketch by Ayako Aratani (JAPAN) This is a round drawing paper set for children. With rounded, instead of square, edges, we offer more freedom in expression and drawing. Proud parents can save their child's art in the thick paper frame provided. Our core concept behind this product was to allow children a future with freedom of direction and expression.
Door-in-Door by DYUID22 [Lu Jiajheng/Cheng Yating] (TAIWAN) Falling birth rates and higher prices have resulted in smaller homes with fewer rooms selling very quickly. Tiny homes with tiny footprints are becoming the mainstream in Asian real estate. This means storage is at a premium. We redesigned the concept of a door to allow for efficient storage—a door within a door offering extra storage space.
Iris Weave Curtain by Taiwan Yuan-Li Handiwork Association [Sun Mengxian] (TAIWAN) I applied traditional techniques of ornamentally weaving juncus effusus to the design of a curtain. With being hung over the window, this item can give off a rich scent by receiving the heat from the sun. When being exposed to the light, it creates various types of shadows in the room, bringing you surprises and joy. Its removable construction allows you to have your own design by replacing parts.
iceland mitten by fisherman [Ryotaro Fujiyama/Shuhei Sugita] (JAPAN) Mittens that Icelandic fishermen use have a wisdom for their fishing in cold winter. When they paddle, mittens often break and get wet. On this occasion, they don’t use new one, but turn over the mitten and use it again immediately.Thick wool as material is warm fabric, if it gets wet, so it shrink and become steady enough to stand itself.
hakimono by Muneo Ariga (JAPAN) It is comfortable footwear made by cutting a formed rubber sheet, the same material used in wet suits, and then putting the pieces together with hook & loop tape. With its elasticity, this footwear can fit anyone. Having a heel part, it is also suitable for elderly and disabled people, who have weak foot muscles. In addition, it is handy for nursing care as putting them on feet is easy. Since the footwear can be opened to be like a flat sheet, you can take it with you on a plane or during travel.
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