This article has been republished with the permission of Furniture Today USA.
Muji, a Japanese lifestyle retailer, is presenting a pop-up shop at the 2017 Habitare fair in Helsinki, marking the company’s debut fair appearance in Europe.
Words: Cindy W. Hodnett
During the Sept. 13-17 edition of Habitare, Muji will showcase a sampling of its minimalist household furnishings and apparel. Muji has 870 shops around the world and has total annual revenue of 2.7 billion euros, according to fair officials, who noted that the nearest stand-alone Muji shop has been in Berlin. In Sweden, MUJI has a number of shops-in-shop at the Åhléns department stores.
“We thought that Habitare is one of a most important design fairs in Europe and this would be a good opportunity for us in the marketing and trial of the Finnish market,” said Takuo Nagahara, director of Muji Europe Holdings, responsible for the Muji pop-up stand at Habitare. “We recognize that Finnish people prefer simple design and avoid unnecessary decoration, which is the same as the MUJI concept.”
“It is an honor for Finnish design and Habitare that MUJI has registered for the event as an exhibitor,” said Laura Sarvilinna, Habitare program director. “The pop-up shop at Habitare is also exceptional in the sense that Muji has never before participated in a fair anywhere in Europe. The diverse content, high visitor numbers, high status, and timing of the Habitare event appealed to the company.”
Officials said that Habitare is a showcase for Finnish design. The design and furniture event has been held at Messukeskus in Helsinki since the 1970s and is the single largest event during Helsinki Design Week. More than 50,000 consumers and professionals interested in design and interior decoration visit Habitare each year, according to fair representatives.
Each year, Habitare invites one internationally acclaimed design expert to visit the event and to acquaint themselves with the fair offering and the Finnish design and interior decoration field. The International Friend of Habitare enters into dialogue with Habitare, exploring design directions, industry trends and market situations. The friend also chooses their Habitare favorites and makes a keynote speech at the event. Kanai joins a group that includes design critic Alice Rawsthorn, the first International Friend of Habitare.