Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Real Simplicity

I’m a huge fan of the MoMA Design Store. Since I live here in NYC, it’s one of my favorite places to window shop. This specialty shop is a designer’s dream, with emphasis on style and functionality. Its offerings are either absolutely off-the-wall-wild or super-nondescript. Some products make life easier, and some simply make it prettier.
Occasionally, I find something that's within my budget, and I think, ‘Wait. Shouldn’t this cost more?’ A few years ago, MoMA introduced me to MUJI—and I’ve been head-over-heels for this low-cost, high-quality Japanese brand ever since. You’ll recognize its wares by refreshingly simple packaging, bearing only price and product-related (non-English!) info.

Goods range from unadorned storage solutions and lifestyle merchandise like these modest little DIY cardboard speakers ($42/set of two) to smooth work offerings like chunky, refillable mechanical pencils ($14 each) and an unassuming business card case ($5.50).

I took a trip to Africa back in 2001, and these sketchbooks (from $5 each) are finally giving my shots the lovely, unfussy home they deserve. Although it recently opened a stateside outpost in SoHo, with a wider selection of goods, its e-commerce capabilities aren’t yet up and running. Fingers crossed, this will happen soon. I’m waiting… A.

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