THEME: MINDFUL LIVING
For this project, I designed an updated version of MUJI’s cypress cutting board. After determining the aspects that customers had the most problems with, I came up with a simple design solution that prevents warping and well as the growth of mold by combining the positive qualities of wooden and plastic cutting boards.
THE MUJI BRAND
As this project was a collaboration with MUJI, I analyzed MUJI's kitchen products to find the requirements for a design that would fit with the brand. I determined that using a single material (or two materials when functionally warranted) was a requirement. MUJI's assortment of products usually used unstained wood, ceramic in white or neutral colored glazes, glass, stainless steel, or plastic in white or black. In addition, the product should be simple and single-function and the product should have the simplest form possible to fulfill that function.
IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM THROUGH USER RESEARCH
The assignment was to design a product for MUJI that embodied the concept of mindful living. After some contemplation about what mindful living was to me, I concluded that a clean lifestyle was the best way to leave room for mindfulness and enjoying each moment. However, by surveying target users, I found that most think of cleaning as an unenjoyable chore. For that reason, I set out to design a product that would help users live a cleaner lifestyle without going to any conscious effort.
IDEATION + PROTOTYPING
Taking into account the insights I gained from my user survey and online reviews of MUJI's existing cutting board, I got to work brainstorming ideas for a cutting board that would maintain the benefits of wooden cutting boards while preventing warping and the growth of mold. My approach to solving this problem was to prevent water from absorbing into the cutting board while standing up to dry.
I proposed a cypress cutting board with polypropylene ends that enable the board to be propped up to dry without water soaking into the board. This prevents damage to the board due to warping and mold growth. With my design, users can enjoy all the benefits of a wooden cutting board without worrying about it being ruined by warping and mold. Rather than having to buy a separate cutting board stand to fulfill this purpose, they can intuitively prop the board itself directly on the counter.