To achieve success, sometimes you need to go against the grain. That’s a formula that has worked for Muji, the Japanese retailer that in an age of excess is standing out from the competition by designing and selling products that are stripped down to their minimalist core. “We believe we can liberate consumers by eliminating all unnecessary aspects of the products we make,’’ said Satoru Matsuzaki, president of the company behind Muji, Ryohin Keikaku, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore last Thursday. “All our products address the basics, the essence of life. It is the consumer that adds value to them.” Muji is arguably one of the world’s most contrarian companies. While many designers today are pushing boundaries and creating ever more elaborate, new, and better products so the machinery of selling can grind on, Muji’s minimalist approach could be described as anti-design, anti-consumption. Read more at Fortune.