Driven by simple necessity, Holger Nielsen set off a design revolution with his brand VIPP
Delving into a brand’s history can be fascinating as it gives us insight into the evolution, inspiration and values shaping its products and identity. It allows us to appreciate the depth and context behind the brand’s achievements and innovations; helps us to understand and connect with the brand on a deeper level.
We encountered countless stories from various brands, but among all those narratives, one truly stands out: the remarkable journey of Vipp. Since its establishment in 1932, the Danish design company has consistently pushed boundaries, redefining our perception of everyday objects.
The fascinating story of Vipp began when a young Holger Nielsen won a car in a lottery at a local soccer stadium. Little did he know that it would mark the beginning of Vipp. The 17-year-old Nielsen loved cars but didn’t have a driver’s license. So, instead of keeping the car, he sold it and invested the money in a metal lathe that allowed him to work with one of his great passions: steel. The newly-educated metal smith eventually built his own metal factory in the small Danish town of Randers with his newly-invested metal lathe. A few years later, when his wife Marie needed a bin for her hairdressing salon, Nielsen went to his workshop and crafted what is now recognized as the Vipp pedal bin.
In Danish, “vippe” means “to tilt” describing the movement of the bin tilt. But the Vipp was never intended to be sold. Initially, it was made only for Marie’s salon; but the wives of doctors and dentists who visited Marie’s salon found the practical Vipp bin to be ideal for their husbands’ clinics. Requests started coming in, prompting Nielsen to begin production on a larger scale.
Nielsen could never have imagined that the humble pedal-controlled bin he designed in 1939 would eventually spark a design revolution. His products, built on the principles of functionality and aesthetic appeal, laid the groundwork for what would later evolve into a broad-ranging design universe that included accessories, furniture and entire kitchens. That simple bin would even become a catalyst for a hotel design concept.
Vipp’s products are sleek and minimalist in their design aesthetic, often featuring clean lines and a focus on high-quality materials. Because its philosophy centers around creating functional and durable products that can withstand everyday use, the products are typically made to last and are often considered timeless classics.
Today, Vipp remains a family-owned, independent Danish design company overseen by Nielsen’s daughter, Jette Egelund, who took over after her father died in 1992. Egelund could not bear the idea of her father’s work disappearing, so she took over Nielsen’s small workshop, which had only one employee. Still, Egelund kept the brand’s reputation for functionality and design in place. It was Egelund as well who realized that the product had so much potential. So, she began expanding Vipp’s sales endeavors with unrivaled enthusiasm. More than 80 years after her father’s innovation, Egelund leads Vipp in Copenhagen, Denmark, along with her two children, Kasper and Sofie.
To put things into perspective, Vipp’s approach to design is a celebration of the extraordinary within the ordinary. It constantly strives to provide products and experiences that exceed expectations. Whether rethinking the modular kitchen, developing an innovative bin, creating a line of bespoke furniture or hosting guests at the Vipp Hotel, the pursuit of extraordinary experiences still guides the company’s work.
The story of Vipp is not merely about design. It’s a family legacy. From a story of a man who used his lottery win to build something out of the ordinary to a story of a family dedicated to upholding the brand’s heritage while infusing it with their unique vision. Luckily, we can now experience the extraordinary nature of Vipp’s collection firsthand, available at MOIEHAUS, Ashta District 8, Jakarta.
“Holger Nielsen could never have imagined that the humble pedal-controlled bin he designed in 1939 would eventually spark a design revolution”
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