Sunday, August 12, 2007

Coolness in avoidance of coolness.

Coolness in avoidance of coolness.

The manifesto that MUJI carries stating “because there is elegance in plainness”, “depth in the minimal” has a resonance in my mind the echo of which can be traced to my college days. I remember as an architecture student during “my days of experimenting with truth” understanding the concept of Gandhism and the simplest approach I could seek at that point in time was to investigate and scale down this concept and ideology to the persona of the man who invented it, Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Like a sleuth with my rustic camera bag slung on my shoulders and my old Bata sandals I visited the Sabarmati ashram, Gandhi’s (place of) residence during India’s freedom struggle. As an 18 year old half way intoxicated into the world of consumerism, the absence of “STUFF” in that little shack rattled my state of sobriety. For a persona as big as Gandhi it was hard for me to define him through his set of belongings which I could count on my figures. There was this pair of spectacles which had an uncanny resemblance to the ones that inspired John Lennon’s in later days, a diary, an ink pot, a fountain ink pen and few other forgettable articles of necessity. In an age where people define themselves and clutter their lives by things it was hard to imagine all this man could attribute to his greatness was his simple thought. As a designer what intrigued me most was the banality of design of these few articles. There was nothing unnecessary or meaningless in the gestalt of these objects, a simple honesty and functionality where the occasional wear and tear of time added embellishment and detail. The objects screamed of silence in a way only understood by its owner. It almost felt as if each of those could only be deciphered, owned, and deserved by someone who understood and practiced simplicity and minimalism in every facet of life.

When I see Muji products it gives me that similar sense of leaving some of my attributes onto these objects rather than them defining me and my life.


moreMirchi said...

Silent objects in complete opposition to the rush of personalization where hello kitty popculture defines the person you are.
Well said, Rajat.

Abhijeet said...

If brevity is the soul of wit, simplicity is the soul of design. I recently finished a book by the noted Graphic designer John Maeda called "Laws of Simplicity" a read worth it if you also wish to "Shrink, Hide and Embody". Keep it up Rajat !