Stories

 

 

Eyes on the future

 

It’s hard to imagine Holger Nielsen would’ve foreseen what his modest waste bin would lead to eight decades after its creation. Born as a functional tool for hair salons and doctors’ clinics, the Vipp bin has developed into an icon of Danish design, part of the collection at New York’s MoMA and the basis of an entire design universe. Though it has grown into a global brand, Vipp is still family owned and operated, with Holger’s daughter, Jette Egelund, and grandchildren, Kasper and Sofie, continuing to adhere to the brand’s founding principles.

It’s hard to imagine Holger Nielsen would’ve foreseen what his modest waste bin would lead to eight decades after its creation. Born as a functional tool for hair salons and doctors’ clinics, the Vipp bin has developed into an icon of Danish design, part of the collection at New York’s MoMA and the basis of an entire design universe. Though it has grown into a global brand, Vipp is still family owned and operated, with Holger’s daughter, Jette Egelund, and grandchildren, Kasper and Sofie, continuing to adhere to the brand’s founding principles.

“We are still trying to stand on the shoulders of our grandfather,” says third generation co-owner and CEO of Vipp, Kasper Egelund. “His design principles inspire us and provide the foundation for everything we do. We have one leg in the past, one in the future.”

“We are still trying to stand on the shoulders of our grandfather,” says third generation co-owner and CEO of Vipp, Kasper Egelund. “His design principles inspire us and provide the foundation for everything we do. We have one leg in the past, one in the future.”

However, Kasper admits that the vision for the company’s future is rather different from its past. “Our past is marked by a focus on product functionality - which is something we want to maintain. But as we move the brand forward, thefocus will be on more than just function.”

However, Kasper admits that the vision for the company’s future is rather different from its past. “Our past is marked by a focus on product functionality - which is something we want to maintain. But as we move the brand forward, thefocus will be on more than just function.”

From product to experience

For Kasper, Sofie and Jette, Vipp’s future is centered on a transition from product and function to a holistic brand experience.

 

“We’ve seen it with some of the family-owned French fashion houses, such as Hermes – beginning with very functional products and ultimately building an entire design experience,” explains Kasper. “We find a lot of inspiration in these brands.”

 

One of the main focus areas in the evolution of Vipp is the guesthouse concept. What started as Kasper’s bold idea to create a retreat in the Swedish forest has taken off into a collection of accommodations fully curated and furnished by Vipp.

 

“Our guesthouses allow visitors to step into and live in our design universe. It’s not just about the individual products, but about how they are experienced holistically – which is never identical depending on the locale.”

 

With nine locations across five countries and more on the way, Vipp’s guesthouses are providing new opportunities for how the brand can be experienced. “We will continue exploring new ways the brand can be brought to life,” says Kasper. “In addition to the guesthouses, this means more curated products and experiences.”

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"Embracing boldness is part of who we are. And it will be at the very heart of how Vipp evolves going forward."

"Embracing boldness is part of who we are. And it will be at the very heart of how Vipp evolves going forward."

A future build on boldness

Despite what the company has become, boldness was not necessarily inherent in Vipp. “Holger was actually rather conservative,” says Sofie. “But over the past 85 years, our family has become more and more adventurous in our ideas and approach to the business. 

 

”Transforming a waste bin into a global design brand is audacious almost by definition. But bold ideas should come as no surprise considering who is leading the company. A social worker with no formal business degree, it was Jette who first had the vision to grow the business by taking the waste bin into private homes and luxury department stores. It’s safe to say she passed this boldness on to her children. Trained graphic designer and the brand’s art director, Sofie made the move to New York City in 2014 to expand Vipp’s footprint and run the company’s US operations together with her husband Frank. And Kasper, who is dyslexic and was pegged “hopeless” in his school years, continues to lead the business to new frontiers with outside-the-box creativity and bold ideas like the guesthouse concept.

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WORDS – KARL BECKMAN

 

ILLUSTRATIONS – SIGURD MUHS GRELCK

WORDS – KARL BECKMAN

 

ILLUSTRATIONS – SIGURD MUHS GRELCK