Can good design save the planet? Well, Muji feels its worth a punt. Inspired by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the brand decided to counteract excessive consumption of goods and materials by setting a target: using 20% fewer materials and 20% less energy to make product. In celebration of this earth-saving ethos, Muji is presenting a display of ethical products that take a minimalist approach at the Design Museum from March 9-18. The ‘Product fitness 80’ exhibits include an aluminium business card case – which, being inherently shiny, doesn’t require colour or polish at the manufacturing stage – as well as a semi-circle coat hanger that enables a number of garments to be dried simultaneously – kind of like a clothes line. The real showstopper, however, is a memo pad made of, get this, recycled paper.
It may not be breathtakingly inspirational, but the show has its heart in the right place. And a pop-up shop at the museum will also be selling a few of the objects on display. Sadly, the majority of exhibits can only be purchased at MUJI shops in Japan, necessitating a transcontinental flight that would more than offset the energy savings derived from any of the above. Hey, at least they tried. Nick Aveling
For info, see designmuseum.org.