I’m going to warn you right now: don’t go to the Hollywood MUJI. Stay at home. Don’t think about it. In fact, forget you even heard that a MUJI has opened in Los Angeles. It’s the holiday season! You have a lot of gifting to do and have saved up to buy great gifts—so don’t go to MUJI. Why? Because you will want everything for yourself...at least that is what we did when we previewed the store today and unintentionally spent an embarrassing amount of money there.
For those unfamiliar, MUJI is basically the Japanese version of Ikea minus the unpredictability of product quality and maze-like presentation. MUJI is clean and everything is compact, tied down by smart aesthetic pins. This new store is the first in Los Angeles and comes after San Jose and San Francisco stores and tons of New York outposts before them. It’s right in the heart of Hollywood at the “Hollywood Galaxy Shopping Center,” which is across the street from the Roosevelt. It’s neighbors are Fresh & Easy—which was one of the starting points for this Tesco concept, another big brand from out of the country—and a CVS. Why here? It will attract every single type of tourist in the world and is accessible to locals despite it’s being so close to the dreaded Hollywood and Highland intersection. Like H&M did in the late early aughts in New York City, it’s positioning itself in a high traffic zone as such and will expose the brand to shit tons of people.
The store is gigantic. It’s in the old Knitting Factory space and is a surprising 8600 square feet. 8600 square feet. Their normal homewares and clothing and more are present in addition to a few new lines that are debuting in LA: MUJI Labo (A nice, upscale clothing line.), Found MUJI (Hand picked, wabi sabi friendly items.), and MUJI foods (Little, adorable, pre-packaged food items.). Everything is arranged in little rectangular quadrants either by sub-brand or department—and it all flows together. MUJI Labo feeds into their normal clothing which feeds into accessories which feeds into things that house your accessories which leads to accessories for your accessories, etc.: it’s never ending.
Since the store is so gigantic, there are some other things to note that you may not have noticed before. For one, giant homewares like beds and tables and bookshelves are available here. We didn’t even know they made that stuff! We’re never going to Ikea again. There is also an adorable station where you can customize your own paper bags, stationary, folders, etc. with stamps, which include the adorable “Happy Birth Day” ink pad. The food area is particularly exceptional and makes you wish that this little wall of food would push open, revealing a MUJI food market. We can dream. There are also original Hollywood MUJI bags, little toes representative of their presence here. These bags are $3.50 each and are a nice offering in the LA anti-plastic bag canon. For the first one thousand customers who make it into the store opening day, this bag will be your gift.
Nature is quite present here, too. There is a specific zen nature in MUJI’s design that brings lots of woody walls and earthy compliments to the space. Funny enough, the space and the goods have a surprising parallel to Los Angeles’. You look at a few wooden chairs and can’t help but think of design movements past, ones where inventive woodworking revolutionized how we designed seating. These Asian designs are new, yes, but they feel like distant cousins to that of the Eameses or Sam Maloof. As they say, perhaps these designers are all “brothers from other mothers.”
If you’ve never been to MUJI or if you’ve been craving a visit to MUJI, the time has come. But don’t go! You will be consumed by it and you won’t want to leave. The registers are even located at the center of the store, making it so you buy your stuff, try to leave, end up buying more, and have to return to the register. We did that!! You know what, just move in to the MUJI store. Why wouldn’t you want to live there? It’s a Japanese dream world where everything is clean, everyone is happy, and you are that minimalist, wonderful, lovely fantasy version of yourself who only eats miso soup and dried squid and does yoga every day. The Hollywood MUJI is a late 2013 treat.
The Hollywood MUJI is located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd and is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 9PM and Sundays from 11AM to 7PM. The store *officially* opens December 14 and the first one thousand customers through the door will get a free MUJI Hollywood tote. If you Instagram a photo there with the tag #mujihollywood, you will be entered to win a special prize: entries are due by December 15. The MUJI pop-up shop outside of the store will be open through December 31.