This is for all you people who have dreamed of furnishing your home entirely with Muji products. The Japanese retailer is expanding its business from home goods to hotels. Set for the end of this year Muji is launching a property in Shenzhen. A second hotel, situated above its flagship store in Tokyo, will follow in 2019.
Muji’s expansion into the hospitality industry feels like a natural evolution. Popularizing a minimal but chic aesthetic, the lifestyle brand provides everything from household goods to clothing. The company has even dabbled in tiny prefab homes and airport terminal design.
We wondered how Muji’s use of materials and design will inform the aesthetic of its hotels, so we asked MB Design Director Dave Cameron:
“Simply kitting out a hotel with Muji’s furniture, furnishings and fittings could result in a slightly surreal experience — a sleepover in one of their stores, which could be enjoyable for some?! But this would be an underwhelming and crude creative solution. It will be more authentic to design the Muji experience — one that is simple, peaceful and well-designed — reflecting their products and expressing their brand.
Clearly the hotel will include some of the Muji products (I’m a big fan of their bed frames), but it will be more interesting to see them design some of the signature hotel moments — what happens if Muji designed the booking experience, breakfast, or even the lift music?”
Muji enters a hospitality market adjusting to changing times. The ease and locality offered by Airbnb is pressuring hotels into streamlining their traditionally stuffy experience, introducing online check-in, digital keys and a renewed focus on local, unique cultural experiences. Meanwhile, Airbnb is introducing new guidelines for its hosts, encouraging them to provide a more luxury, hotel-like experience.
Words: Lauren Ebeling and David Cameron.