images courtesy THE | click to enlarge
The [th uh]
Used to mark a noun as indicating the best-known, most approved, most important, most satisfying, etc.
A natural process of selection occurs not only in life, but in the day-to-day objects we keep near us as well. We replace things as we find more suitable alternatives that, for one reason or another, enhance our lives. And so things change and evolve into more optimal forms. That’s according to Japanese designer Mizuno Manabu, at least, who believes that we are now at the point we can claim certain objects to be “classic” in design. And thus, on the back of his successful career as graphic designer and head of Good Design Company, began his now brand simply titled “THE.”
The initiative started online last year but has now morphed into a brick-and-mortar store on the 4th floor of KITTE, the new shopping center just outside Tokyo station. There you will find things like The Glass, The Plate, The Lunch Box and other daily essentials that claim superiority over their household brethren. But what makes the store work, saving it from the clenches of design elitism, is a carefully curated selection of non-originals.
A wide-variety – everything from toys and candy to bicycles – line the walls of the store. Before buying anything you can be certain that it’s gone under the design microscope. In one case they ordered and tested several hundred bowls, scoring each on things like form, durability and easy-to-clean. THE – with a name like that it’s hard to go wrong. (unless we’re talking about search engine optimization)