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Muji's New Collection Melds Japanese Design and Swedish Tradition

Simple and functional as always

It all boils down to a coffee break.
Photo courtesy Muji

It was bound to happen: Muji, the leading Japanese purveyor of minimalist home goods, has launched a collection inspired by Sweden, a country that has long shared Japan's affinity for simple, functional design.

Developed as part of the Found Muji initiative, in which a globe-trotting team led by noted designer Naoto Fukasawa extracts and then updates valuable design traditions embedded in cultures around the world, the new line includes simple towels, cups, serveware, cooking utensils, and other items to be found around the kitchen. The main inspiration for Found Muji Sweden, as it turns out, is the distinctive Swedish concept of fika, or coffee break.

Speaking at a launch event in New York City last week, Naoko Yano, Muji's Head of Planning and Design, recalled her experience living in Sweden and observing the way locals seem to "switch on and off between life and work" quickly and smoothly. Yano believes this productivity boils down to fika (Quartz recently explored this "Swedish key to happiness at work" in detail.) These products, then, aim to help everyone get a taste of the fika lifestyle.

Unsurprisingly, a highlight of the collection is the stainless steel coffee filter holder, which event guest speaker Lars Åkerlund, CEO and co-founder of—funny enough—the Fika cafe chain in Manhattan, said is on "each and every wall in Sweden."

Found Muji Sweden is now available at the Muji Fifth Avenue flagship store in NYC.