Just pure luck! That was how everything started. The year was 1932 when Holger Nielsen, the founder of Vipp, won a car in a lottery at his local soccer stadium. Uninspired by his windfall he sold the car and instead bought a metal press instead. A few years later, his wife asked Holger for a rubbish bin to use in her hairdressing salon. A functional and elegant bin was created, which instantly stole the show at the salon and attracted plenty of attention from Mrs Nielsen’s clients, the wives of doctors and dentists who saw a bin that was sleek, practical and ideal for their husbands’ clinics. The intention had never been to sell the bins but following multiple requests Holger started production on a larger scale. From there a new design phenomenon was born.
The metal pedal bin has become the flagship product for Vipp, and indeed the basis for the brand’s DNA. The design philosophy embodied by the original bin has evolved into something different, but the strictly traditional aesthetic of today has grown from that innovation, which formed a foundation for the collections which were to come.
The whole company began with the ability to create something simple but extraordinary, which evolved into the desire to spread this ethos. The driving force behind Vipp´s designs is the need to develop products which make a difference, particularly in comparison to the other alternatives available on the market, with higher quality and functionality. It is about the ability to provide smooth everyday experiences with a focus on telling a story.
This means that Vipp doesn’t try to keep up with mainstream trends. They positively take pride in being ‘untrendy’ as the products represent more of an investment than just one season. This is why the overall ambition of the company is to provide the world with considered and high-quality products with the ability to last for decades.
To top it all off, in 2009 the original design of Vipp’s pedal bin got accepted to the permanent architecture and design collection at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, the ultimate recognition of design quality, and an honour that means the world to the company. The credentials that helped Vipp get to MOMA include the efficient mechanism and no-frills industrial aesthetic that exemplify good design.
This gave Vipp the encouragement they needed, and resulted in category enlargements and brand-new products ranges.
From Rubbish to High-End Design
Vipp has now been running for three generations as a family business, and each successive generation stuck with the original intention to grow further in different directions within design. For some years now Vipp has entered a new era of the company where the focus has been shifting from just a few products to a full interiors line including kitchens, furniture, and floor-to-ceiling design solutions.
To really showcase the range of their products in the best way possible, the company developed a concept called Vipp Hotel, where they could stage the spaces with everything from kitchen and bedroom to bathroom and living room. In the Hotel, Vipp have designed almost everything the eye can see, accented by a very select few high-end brands to fill in the gaps. This way they get to show a complete design universe of their own in a unique way.
The Vipp Hotel is not a hotel in the traditional sense. Instead of having many rooms in one location, they offer unique rooms at various destinations. At the Vipp Hotel, they invite guests to experience their philosophy of design in places that are out of the ordinary. The hotels are truly unlike any other. The portfolio is small – three locations have only one room – but there are more locations in the planning. Guests are given the opportunity to escape to the Vipp Shelter surrounded by nature in the Swedish forests or experience sophisticated urban living at the Vipp Loft in the heart of Copenhagen.
More unusual locations include the Vipp Chimney House – a restored landmark in northern Copenhagen.
Shelter with Vipp, Connect with Nature
At Les Deux we have been using the Vipp Shelter as one of our favourite get-away spots and wanted to share the unique experience to be had in this extraordinary place.
When you visit the woods around the Lake Immeln for the first time, your eyes aren’t immediately drawn to the metal object standing in the middle. The architecture of the building speaks for itself and represents complete harmony between the man-made composition and the surrounding nature. There is a strong connection between the select combination of raw materials that make up the building, together with the surroundings.
The shelter, constructed out of black steel, contains full Vipp experience inside. On entering you can sense the famous design aesthetic that started with the iconic pedal bin. The interior has a minimalistic design, maintaining the simplicity of the structure itself, and filled (somehow) with exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less. Another memorable element of the shelter is the bedroom. The ceiling of the room is made out of glass through which you can see the crowns of trees together with birds flying between the branches. This aspect of the bedroom is designed to bring nature in – from stars shining brightly at night, to the morning sun streaming in – something that continues throughout the whole building. It’s a place where you can escape from your busy life and disconnect with the online world for a blissful moment.
Bringing Vipp to the World
As well as Vipp’s products have gained recognition for their pared-back, minimalist aesthetic, it has also resulted in the adoption of their products at many elite and refined establishments, including the American Aesop Hub, Nimb Hotel in Copenhagen, and The Danish Opera, amongst others. For Aesop it was of great importance that their kitchen design embodied high quality materials fused together with elegance. In this way their office remains modest in design ambition, favouring quality over opulence. The restrained aesthetic aligned well with Nimb’s concept and approach to style, which is the reason you can find Vipp products all over their hotel. The partnership with the 38-roomed hotel came in the form of a makeover, with Vipp bathroom accessories in the rooms and Vipp kitchen products and bins in the restaurant and lounge area. Vipp’s products was the perfect way to embody the Nimb brand’s aesthetic storytelling that incorporates rarefied luxury with a sense of adventure. The Danish Opera House is designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen, and a number of Danish artists have already contributed to the décor, among them Per Kirkeby and Olafur Eliasson. In this fine company, Vipp bathroom products and bins are also found at the Opera House.
Even a small and ordinary object like a pedal bin can subsequently forge the way for greater success – as happened in the case of Vipp. The company managed to reinvent itself as a hub of innovation, refusing to limit their creativity to household accessories, and using their pioneering capabilities to provide a unique experience for their consumers.
“We dream of a world with fewer but better products, favouring staying power over fading trends.”