HISTORY OF VIPP

IT BEGAN WITH A BIN

BEFORE THE BIN THERE WAS CAR

AND A GIRL NAMED MARIE

The Vipp story begins one spring Sunday in 1931 when 17-year-old Holger Nielsen wins a car in a lottery at the local football stadium. Holger loves cars but has no driving licence, and he therefore decides to sell the car and invest in a metal lathe that allows him to work with one his great passions - steel.

As a newly educated metal smith, this marks the beginning of Holger’s metal factory in the small Danish town of Randers. 

”Holger”, said Marie. ”I need a waste bin for my salon. Can you make me one?”
These words mark the beginning of Vipp. The year is 1939, and Marie, newlywed to Holger, has opened her own hairdressing salon. As a certified metal smith Holger knows what a quality tool is. With this in mind he makes a bin that works, and that very few people will ever wear out. After spending many days labouring in his workshop, Holger is ready to show Marie his Vipp pedal bin – and she is delighted with the result.

Holger had two big passions in life

Steel and cars

Holger Nielsen's Metal Factory

in Randers, Denmark

New Investment

A metal press

Marie Axelsen & Holger Nielsen

Newlyweds in 1939

The first Vipp bin

made for Marie's hairdressng salon

A FAVOURITE

IN THE DANISH CLINICS

Originally, the Vipp bin was intended for Marie only. However, many wives of doctors and dentists have their hair done at Marie’s salon and find the Vipp bin perfect for their husbands’ clinics, particularly in light of its practical and sturdy design. So, the pedal bin soon becomes a permanent feature of Danish clinics and remains a prerogative for the professional market during the next 50 years.

Holger Nielsen is not designer but a metal turner. A craft  based on function defining the aesthetics of a product. The original bin is not designed in the strict traditional sense but gets its visual expression in response to a number of functional criteria:

A large foot for stability, a dome-shaped steel lid that is easy to clean; ears on the sides to easily move the bin around and a rubber ring on the base for protection of the floor. Functionality remains the starting point for the production in Holger Nielsen’s metal factory until his death in 1992.

“Good design never goes out of fashion”, Holger used to say. Time has proven him right; the Vipp bin has only been marginally improved since it saw the light of day back in 1939.

Left : A brochure from the '40s showing salon products originally made for Marie's salon

right : Holger's 'Hilton' bin sold to many gas stations

1989

Holger in his metal workshop

1989

Holger in his office

A NEW GENERATION TAKES OVER

Holger Nilelsen dies suddenly in 1990 and Holger and Marie’s youngest daughter Jette simply cannot bear to see her father’s life’s work sold and disappear. She decides to take over the company, which consists of only one other employee who works in Holger's metal factory in the back yard of Jette’s childhood home.

"I had been a social worker in Copenhagen for years, and suddenly I found myself with a metal factory and an employees in my hometown of Randers on the other side of the country. I had just gone through a difficult divorce, and it was back to basics. I had to learn everything from scratch." - Jette Egelund.

Jette Egelund has a dream. She grew up with the Vipp bin in her childhood home and wants others to enjoy the bin in their homes too.

At the time, the bin has only been sold to the professional market, but Jette is convinced that it can also be sold to design enthusiasts around the world.

With the Vipp bin under her arm, Jette does something her father never did - visits customers. She visits the finest furniture and design shops in Scandinavia. Very few recognise the bin’s potential, but Jette never loses faith and her determination is rewarded. More and more people fall in love with the Vipp bin, and when The Conran Shop orders bins for their London and Paris stores, Jette knows she is on the right track.

Today, Vipp is a third generation family business. Jette has been joined by her two children, Sofie and Kasper, who together with a committed team of employees and a growing range of products continue adding chapters to the Vipp story.

Jette and her father

on the beach in 1957

Jette has left Copenhagen and her job as social worker behind

In the backyard of her childhood home lies the workshop, where she learns everything from scratch

Jette is on her way to the Ambiente fair in Frankfurt

The fair stand is one bin on a trolley

In 1997 Jette decides to outsource the production of Vipp

At the new office north of Copenhagen, her two children, Kasper and Sofie are ready to be part of the company

A GROWING

FAMILY OF TOOLS

Since 1939, the Vipp product family has grown into a large family with a wide range of products. The original bin is available in five sizes and has been supplemented by products for the bathroom and kitchen as well as kitchen and bathroom modules. The Vipp DNA is taken straight out of the bin and is today carried on by Chief Designer Morten Bo Jensen.

"Prioritising function and the use of high-quality materials with which we have more than 75 years of experience lead to a certian aesthetic that is recognisable throughout the Vipp product portfolio," explains Morten Bo Jensen, Chief Designer at Vipp.

Whether adding a hook or a laundry basket to the Vipp product family, the ambition is to create objects that are timeless in both function and aesthetics.

"When we design a new product, we consider it as a tool that must withstand daily wear and tear. We always aim to develop something that is better than what is already on the market. It is not just about developing something that is new or different. One example is our dishwashing brush in solid steel and rubber, which is a good alternative to the 'one-off version'. It is long lasting and has a replaceable brush head, which is also beneficial for the environment." - Morten Bo Jensen.

A family portrait of Vipp products

Born out of a shared design philosophy

A TRIP TO THE MoMA

In 2008, Vipp established Vipp Inc. in Tribecca, New York, to ensure that people on the other side of the Atlantic also would have access to functional tools in their home.

Only a year later, in November 2009 the Vipp pedal bin was accepted into the permanent architecture and design collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA).

"It felt like the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Vipp when I flew across the Atlantic to give a speech at MoMA. Imagine my father's little bin standing side by side with the most recognized design classics in the worls. It was and still is a huge honor, especially when I think of how hard and long the way up to that big day has been."

- Jette Egelund.

Vipp Inc Head Quarters

Is based on Murray Street in Tribecca

The original and current version of the pedal bin

stand side by side in MoMA's permanent design collection

A KITCHEN

AND A CONCEPT STORE

On December 1st 2011, the first Vipp Concept Store Store opened its doors in Ny Østergade 34 in Copenhagen. 150 m2 showcase the entire Vipp collection, ranging from a hook to a kitchen.

75 years of expertise with steel manufacturing has been used to upscale Vipp’s classic bin to a kitchen. The Vipp kitchen unfolds in every detail; from drawer grips and tap to gas knobs and cooking hood.

Rather than offering infinite choices, Vipp offers three types of modules predefined in design and material.

“Sometimes, we’re asked if it comes in beige with a marble top. The answer is ‘no, always in powder-coated black or white with a 4mm massive stainless steel top’. Our intention is to make a kitchen stripped of fading trends. One that lasts, just like our 75 year old bin", - Morten Bo Jensen, Chief Designer at Vipp

The Vipp kitchen

In the Vipp Concept Store in Copenhagen

A third generation family company

Kasper, Jette and Sofie in the Vipp kitchen

THE VIPP SHELTER

A 55 m2 PLUG & PLAY GETAWAY

Vipp has made a plug & play getaway that allows you to escape urban chaos in a 55m2 all-inclusive nature retreat called Vipp shelter – a prefabricated object designed down to the last detail, where the only choice left to the customer is where to put it.

‘A battery-charging station for humans’ is how Vipp’s CEO, Kasper Egelund, describes the product. “There is no evident link between a pedal bin, a kitchen and a shelter, enter the shelter and the philosophy of one, long lasting, functional tool per category. The shelter is a tool to escape".

Nature is omnipresent within the transparent shell, yet with a physical blindage in the form of parallel, sliding window frames that provide shelter from the forces of nature.

The starting point of the Vipp shelter is going back to basics; back to nature in a dense, compact space wrapped in the Vipp DNA. The landscape is purposely framed, turning it into the predominant element of the interior space fitted with a predominantly dark-toned interior carefully selected to keep focus on nature.

“Vipp is rooted in the manufacture of industrial objects, so the term ‘shelter’ is a typology that allows us to define this modern escape as a product inspired by large volume objects such as airplanes, ferries and submarines.” – Morten Bo Jensen, chief designer in Vipp.

The shelter comes fully equipped with Vipp products including everything from lighting to linen, from table to toilet brush, and from shelves to soap dispenser.

The Vipp shelter

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