Masaaki Kanai, the CEO of the Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI, has been invited to be the International Friend of Habitare in 2017. Habitare, the largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair in Finland, will be held at Messukeskus in Helsinki, Sept. 13-17, 2017.
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 favourites and makes a keynote speech at the event. The first International Friend of Habitare, in 2016, was the design critic Alice Rawsthorn.
"I am delighted to have received the invitation to become the International Friend of Habitare and to come to Finland next autumn. At Habitare, I expect to see a design aesthetic that originates from Finnish nature, as well as many products that bring together traditional culture and modern technology," says Kanai.
In his keynote speech, Kanai plans to discuss MUJI's philosophy, its potential for growth, and the visions of better everyday life that are behind the success of the company.
Since 1993, Masaaki Kanai has worked as an executive with Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. which owns MUJI. The official name of the company in Japanese, "Mujirushi Ryōhin," means "no-brand quality goods." MUJI is known around the world for its affordable, aesthetically minimalist and beautiful everyday objects, clothes, and home appliances, all of which are user-driven, and use high-quality materials and a streamlined manufacturing process. In Japan, MUJI has branched out into house concepts, selling prefab homes and renovating old apartment buildings.
"MUJI is one of the world's most respected design houses and has incorporated good design into all its operations, from company management and customer service to the appearance of the price tag. MUJI has, in an exemplary way, introduced beauty and an aesthetic dimension to utility items, without overlooking quality. I am very honored that Masaaki Kanai responded to our invitation to become a friend of Habitare. We have a high regard for Kanai's vision, and it will be very interesting to see how he views the fields of interior decoration and design today in Finland and in the world," says the Habitare program director Laura Sarvilinna.