Danish design heritage isn’t purely in the form of chairs and lamps, though they are very significant items of design. There is a vast range of classic products, architecture and style that Denmark has given the world. Today I wanted to talk about the humble bin. Yes a bin. One that has great importance in Danish design. The Vipp bin.
Why am I talking about it? I want to highlight that in Scandinavian design, every aspect of living is considered. There is detail everywhere, even with the humble bin.
Vipp are an internationally renowned Danish company with expertise in engineering, manufacturing steel and design. And it all started with a bin! Now their product portfolio ranges from bins, lighting, kitchens, bathrooms to hotels. I’m fascinated in the beginnings of this company and how the bin has shaped company’s design philosophy.
“evoking function over form and staying power over fading trends.”
Like many Scandinavian products, the design originates from practical necessity. This is how the iconic Vipp bin came to be…….
a little history
In 1932, 17 year old Holger Nielsen won a car in a lottery. He couldn’t drive at this time so he sold it. The money was then invested in the purchase of a metal lathe, to pursue Holger’s passion of metal work. This developed into business and Holger Nielsen opened his own metal factory in a small Danish town called Randers.
Out of necessity Holger’s wife Marie, a hairdresser, asked him to make her a bin for her salon.
The bin was never really intended to be sold but it was becoming a popular sight at Marie’s hair salon. Her client’s included wives of doctors and dentists. Marie was told that her bin would be practical solution for their husband’s clinics. There was an increase in requests so in 1939 Holger began production of the bin.
Design may not have been the initial intent, more function. Though the careful attention to detail, manufacturing craftsmanship and visual response to an issue does count as design and probably more care that a lot of products out there.
Holger created a large foot at the base of the bin for stability with a rubber ring on the base to protect the floor. A domed lid for ease of cleaning and ears on the sides so that it’s easy to move. It has changed a little over the years due to production methods but is essentially the same design.
“Due to new production techniques in 1949, the lid changes form. Instead of a wavy welded lid it is now stamped out with a rounded shape.”
Jette Egelund brought Vipp bin into the design world
Jette Egelund, daughter of Holger, took over the company in 1992 after his death. ‘After the sudden death of my father, I simply could not bear to see his life’s work sold and disappear. I knew the bin had potential.’At this time the Vipp bin was mostly used in the professional market.
“Having grown up with the bin used in her childhood home, Jette has a dream – she wants others to enjoy the bin in their home as well. Together with her two children, Kasper and Sofie, she sets out to bring Holger’s principles of functionality into the private home.” – from Vipp.com
From working in the factory making bins to selling the products across Europe, Jette met with Scandinavia’s finest furniture design shops. This went quite well but when The Conran Shop in London and design stores in Paris loved it and recognised the bin for it’s Danish industrial design, then she know she was the right track. Creating a new kind of customer. I find Jette incredibly inspiring. As a woman in business she’s successfully grown the family company, worked in skilled environments including designing products to add to the Vipp collection.
In November 2009 the Vipp bin was accepted to the architecture and design collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMa). ‘It’s a true humble masterpiece. The no-frills industrial aesthetic and efficient pedal exemplify good design’, says Chay Costello, associate director of merchandising for MoMA.
“Today, Vipp is a 3rd generation family-owned company run by Holger’s daughter Jette Egelund, her two children Kasper and Sofie together with 45 employees. Our home base is Islands Brygge, Copenhagen from where we steadily grow our product range spanning the categories of kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, lighting, accessories, and prefab homes. ” – Vipp.com
I can’t look at bins the same way
Like Holger Nielsen said, “good design doesn’t go out of fashion'” and I agree, this bin is timeless and so cool. Both the kitchen and the bathroom bins are on my wish list for my new home. I can’t see how any other bin can match up to the quality and design! But that’s what I get like when I obsess over a particular product or design. I’ll only be using plastic bags in my house because until then my bin dreams will not be fulfilled, haha (but so true)…..
*disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post, I just love these bins.
images courtesy of Vipp.com