The Japanese retailer Muji, which has earned a cult following for its unfussy brand of household products and clothing, has released three new countertop kitchen gadgets that are a master class in radical simplicity.
Industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa based the rice cooker ($195), toaster ($95), and electric kettle ($95) on his aspirations of “Super Normal” design. No frills here, but look closely, and you’ll notice some clever details—for example, the rice cooker’s lid has an integrated spoon rest, and the kettle boils water in 80 seconds flat.
“When people tell me, ‘I have seen this kind of product, but I could not find it,’ it’s a great compliment for me,” Fukasawa says in an email interview. “That means that they feel like it already existed, but it did not. Sharing a common feeling is a ‘Super Normal’ design.”
As gorgeous as the items are, they do raise questions about the relevance of single-use appliances in modern society, which was hotly debated over at Curbed. Sure, your average saucepan will boil water and cook rice, but will it do it as elegantly and efficiently as Muji can? Read more in our slide show above.