Undeterred by the latest fads or trends, the Japanese retailer Muji has earned its reputation for being a "brand- less brand," favoring timeless forms over of-the-moment detailing. As such, it only releases a handful of new offerings. This July, the company debuts three plug-in countertop appliances, its frst for the American market. Tokyo-based designer Naoto Fukasawa, revered and lauded for his intuitive approach, masterminded the devices: a rice cooker, which will retail for $195, a toaster and water kettle, $95 each. Their use and interface determined the elegant silhouettes. "Things with which we physically interact, the kettle for example, have to fit well with our hands," Fukasawa says. "I like a rounded cubic shape because people tend to fnd them friendly." On the flip side, he argues that built-in appliances should be rectilinear since they nestle into a wall’s surface. The products have simple controls and clever details, like a spoon rest incorporated in to the rice cooker. "We should always base design on our intuitions," Fukasawa says. "It is better to follow our subconscious behaviors."
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