With next week’s opening of its “Tatazumai” collection, Muji will be letting the participating artisans speak for themselves.
Upending the in-store appearance concept, Muji will be flying in the Japanese designers, who will be on-site in the Fifth Avenue store June 23 to 26 during normal business hours. This will be the first time that “Tatazumai,” which translates to “appearance,” “shape” or “atmosphere” will be shown outside of Europe.
The exhibition has been selected by Kazumi Sakata, the influential antique dealer who raised everyday design into an art form, winning over fans like Takashi Murakami in the process. A selection of clothes given to the artist by Sakata were featured in Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection at the Yokohama Museum. In an interview earlier this year with an art outlet, Murakami said, “In Japan, Sakata was a revolutionary figure: He created this bizarre zone of connoisseurship by lowering his gaze to the level of the common man, and prizing a certain beauty to be found in poverty and an austere lifestyle.”
“Tatazumai” was first introduced by Muji in Japan, and then in Paris last fall. Building off the momentum in the Japanese market, which accounts for more than 50 percent of Muji’s overall business, the company decided to bring the concept to New York, said Muji USA president Asako Shimazaki. Muji, a 400-unit chain with 11 stores in the U.S., will open an 8,600-square-foot store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., in August.
The Tatazumai selection includes clothing from textiles artist Akiko Ando, glass artist Kazumi Tsuji, mixed-material wares artist Michiko Iwata, ceramic items by artist Keisuke Iwata, kitchen wares from the wood designer Ryuji Mitani and ceramist Masanobu Ando. Akiko Ando is the only Tatazumai artisan, who will not be available to travel to New York for this month’s opening. Each artist will be traveling with some of their handmade creations in their own suitcases and will help to prepare their individual space in the flagship, Shimazaki said. Fuji was drawn to each artist for their individual aesthetic, philosophy and concept, Shimazaki said.