Japanese retail company MUJI Singapore has officially launched its newest furniture series made from sustainable rubberwood on 11 Jan 2023 during an event hosted at its Plaza Singapura flagship store in Singapore.
This series debuts in the ASEAN region. From desks and storage beds to dining table, Singapore has one of the largest selections available. MUJI Singapore will reportedly debut more rubberwood furniture at the end of January 2023, which include shelves and cabinets.
This newest series embodies a timeless and minimalist aesthetic that offers diversity and versatility to adapt seamlessly to interior spaces and lifestyles in the ASEAN market.
The rubberwood used for this series is derived from rubber trees grown in South East Asia. Specifically, MUJI Singapore sources the rubberwood from Dong Nai province of Vietnam, where there are plantations with more than 100 million trees in total.
MUJI also has a set of oak and walnut collection, with the material sourced from China, Indonesia or Vietnam, as MUJI Singapore told Panels & Furniture Asia.
The design specifications and standards of the rubberwood series are based on the oak and walnut furniture collection. However, by using an agricultural byproduct of the rubber industry, not only does MUJI Singapore reduce deforestation solely for furniture, but also its abundance enables them to keep agricultural costs lower while retaining its quality standards.
“Think local, act local”
The launch of this product series marks the “first time” MUJI’s headquarters has authorised ASEAN markets to independently develop products, allowing subsidiary companies to customise the design and manufacture products tailored to the culture and preferences of each market.
By allowing flexibility, MUJI aims to recognise the differences in cultures and lifestyles in the different countries, and provide products that will suit the locals better.
For instance, their dining tables and storage beds are space-saving solutions that cater to the ASEAN home living conditions of limited space.
Yoshihisa Matsunaga, merchandising manager of MUJI Singapore said: “At MUJI, we prioritise sustainability by sourcing local materials, like the rubberwood in our South East Asian-grown rubber trees, for our production. We stay true to our commitment to deliver an exceptional customer experience with every product.
“This collection is part of a ‘think local, act local’ move where ASEAN committees make ASEAN-centric products, and how we bring the best fit to respective local lifestyles and cater to local needs.
“At the same time, by sourcing from the rubber industry in the region, we focus on supporting the local businesses and farmers that make our collection possible.”
Furthermore, by developing rubberwood furniture independently, MUJI Singapore can control the production and delivery of the furniture without being “influenced by circumstances of Japanese production”, since they have received customer complaints of “long lead times for furniture orders from Japan”.
Known for its timeless strength and durability, rubberwood is a tropical hardwood timber which is also sustainable and cost-effective. Its lumber is coarse-grained and has medium density, similar to ash and maple wood.
Like oak, rubberwood is resistant to mould, bacteria, and fungi, which thrive in humid and tropical conditions. As such, it is suitable for ASEAN climates.
Katsushi Onishi, managing director of MUJI Singapore, commented: “MUJI is strongly committed to providing our customers with a vast and versatile range of environmentally-friendly lifestyle products. They are functional daily necessities that support everyday life.
“Our purpose is to deliver comfort and practicality, where our products are known for being ‘just right’.”
Images: MUJI Singapore