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Object Timeline

1999

  • Work on this object began.

2013

2015

2019

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Muji Wall-mounted CD Player, designed 1999; manufactured 2013

This is a Wall-mounted CD player. It was designed by Naoto Fukasawa and manufactured by Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.. It is dated designed 1999; manufactured 2013 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is abs plastic, metal. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

By the late 1990s, industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa was frustrated by what he considered the norm in industrial design: the production of homogenous objects with little variation, regardless of the designer or manufacturer, stacked on the shelves of mass market stores. He noted this particularly in the categories of appliances, audio visual equipment, and computers. This prompted Fukasawa to consider audio equipment and appliances designed around their relationships to people, spaces, and the things around them, “…in the same way that a good . . . chair . . . adapts itself to the shape of people’s bodies and the space in which it’s placed.”[1] Fukasawa’s concept for a wall mounted CD player is partly a result of this thinking. According to Fukasawa,
“One day, I was listening to the music emanating from a CD player with the lid open, watching the CD spin around. When switched on, the CD slowly began to turn, and once its rotations had stabilized, sound poured forth. The image of these rotations reminded me of the motor driven and ventilation fans found in kitchens. When you pull the cord . . . the blades start to turn, and . . . when their rotations have stabilized, the sound of the wind also becomes constant. I thought it would be good if there was a CD player with built-in speakers that you could hang on the wall . . . A suitable shape would be small square with its corners removed, with the speakers arranged in such a way that they seemed to surround the CD. It was at that time that the images of the ventilation fan and this square CD player overlapped. I wondered what would happen if, like on the ventilation fan, I employed a cord as a switch. When the cord was pulled, the CD would slowly begin to turn and music would pour forth, like the flow of air from a fan.”[2]

To Fukasawa, the interactive nature of the CD player and its succession of movements and sensations were at the heart of the design’s appeal—pulling the cord switch makes the CD turn and the sound emanate. Fukasawa introduced a concept model at a design workshop, where it was noticed by Masaaki Kanai, then head of product planning for the household and consumer goods retailer Muji. Kanai decided to develop the CD player for commercial production. Rather than compromising the design by having an on/off cord and separate power cord hanging from the device, Fukasawa and the Muji team eventually decided to use the power cord as the switch; they were able to do so upon realizing it would comply with manufacturing standards because the cord was strong enough to withstand the force of an adult pulling on it without detaching it from the CD player. Fukasawa considers Muji one of the few companies “…that creates things that don’t run counter to how people truly feel.”[3] The wall-mounted CD player is a popular item among Muji’s electronics; at the time of proposed acquisition, it has been in production for over 10 years.
Fukasawa is an influential industrial designer whose work would enrich the museum’s holdings. The CD player proposed for acquisition would be the first object by the Muji brand to enter the collection.

This object was donated by Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.. It is credited Gift of MUJI.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 17.1 x 17.1 x 3.8 cm (6 3/4 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Muji Wall-mounted CD Player, designed 1999; manufactured 2013; Designed by Naoto Fukasawa (Japanese, b. 1956); Japan; abs plastic, metal; H x W x D: 17.1 x 17.1 x 3.8 cm (6 3/4 x 6 3/4 x 1 1/2 in.); Gift of MUJI; 2013-35-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520927/ |title=Muji Wall-mounted CD Player, designed 1999; manufactured 2013 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 January 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>