This year’s theme was Found, “from nature; knowledge from those that came before us; from one’s own unique culture.” I’ve never seen a design competition where the entrants respond so well to the brief, by making products that display the correct qualities, whilst maintaining the purity of the Muji design aesthetic.
The winner was the “straw straw”, literally a drinking straw made out of straw. It seems so blatantly obvious, but this is part of its charm. Straw is the perfect material in many ways, particularly from an environmental standpoint, but in an age of mass production where plastics are convenient and abundant, this traditional material has been neglected.
Two of the judges were Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison, who are proponents of Supernormal design, where a product doesn’t rely on aesthetic flourishes to justify it’s design credentials, but rather it is the synthesis of materials, human needs and simplicity which determines its value. On all of these counts, the straw straw is a triumph.