Mingu: always in reach, never in vain

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Art is life. And life is art. More precisely, it can become one, if we give permission for common, usually unnoticed things to be a work of art. As Muji company did.

At the exhibition “Mingu” in the Design Sight Museum, Muji presented the anatomy of everyday life. Mingu is the term for the objects that unearth daily necessities of the common people. It was coined by a Japanese businessman, philanthropist, and folklorist Keizo Shibusawa, who once gathered with like-minded friends to study toys in the attic of a storehouse in his garden. Their research in the “Attic Museum” expanded to collecting and studying articles used by ordinary Japanese in their daily life. These folk implements became the basis of the mingu.


Since then everyday items have experienced massive changes under the influence of evolving technologies. But at the exhibition, they were presented in the re-examined original form. Having gone through a creative rethinking of a beholder, storage and cleaning items, cutlery and other household goods assumed a new reality.

Always within reach and never used in vain, Muji products reflect the aesthetics of the simple and evident. It is just a fascination with common items and a bare uncovering of the unique and spectacular properties of everyday materials and mundane objects. And it turns them into the mingu of today, isn’t it?


Mingu concept is also reflected in the works of Ukrainian studio Sergey Makhno Architects. The company values long-standing traditions and interprets them in the products full of real life in its purest form. Ancient wood, rough stone, crumpled linen and other things on which time has left its mark — that is what is truly considered to be perfection. Look at ceramics from Sergey Makhno Architects: it is always with natural flaws, asymmetry, scratches, and scuffs. Because there is nothing more beautiful than simplicity and naturalness. We just need to be able to notice it.

Nothing extraordinary. But that’s the beauty.

It is in the unpretentious reality and the opportunity to discover creative potential and ingenuity that live within us all. Eventually, it is the artist who defines what the art is. And each of us can become one by looking at the constantly repeating patterns of our existence in a new way.

 

Author — Victoria Tokatly
Main visual — Nikita Uvarov

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