Vipp Limited Edition 2010 – Mermaid Blues
Vipp Mermaid Blues takes you on a fantastic voyage in colors inspired by the home of The Little Mermaid – the sparkling blue sea. Mermaid Blues is a new interpretation of the classic Vipp design universe in three refreshing and maritime nuances. The series allows for exciting color combinations that bring new life to your bathroom or kitchen.
THE VIPP STORY – DANISH DESIGN SINCE 1939
Vipp is founded in 1939 by Holger Nielsen. Born in 1915 in the small Danish town of Randers, Holger trains as a metal spinner.
Holger Nielsen makes the leap into business at the age of only 17 and almost by coincidence. It all begins one spring Sunday in May 1931 when he makes his usual visit to the local stadium to support his favorite football team. Fate has it that his ticket is drawn in a raffle, and he wins a car. Holger loves cars, but as he has no driver’s license, he decides to sell the car and invest the money in a metal turning lathe.
This marks the birth of Holger Nielsen’s metal factory where, a few years later, he produces the very product that will go on to bring him fame: the Vipp pedal bin.
1939 – A LOVE STORY
The year is 1939, and Holger and Marie have just married. Marie is a hairdresser, and she decides to open her own salon in Randers. Money is tight, so she asks her husband to help her furnish her salon, for example with a practical waste bin.
Holger takes himself off to his workshop and sets about fulfilling his wife’s wishes. He is a skilled craftsman, and wants to impress his beautiful wife. After many hours in the workshop, he is ready to present the Vipp pedal bin to Marie – and she is thrilled.
Like Marie, the customers in her salon love the Vipp bin, and Holger soon starts receiving commissions for more. Marie’s customers think that the bin is ideal for their husbands’ medical practices, not least thanks to its functionality. The sudden demand for the Vipp bin prompts Holger to start production on a larger scale. The bin, which was originally intended for Marie only, becomes a standard piece of equipment at Danish medical practices.
1949 – PRODUCTION CHANGES
Holger Nielsen was a craftsman with a keen sense of aesthetics and quality: “Good design never goes out of fashion,” he used to say. And time would prove him right; the Vipp bin has hardly changed in either design or materials since it was created in 1939.
The only difference compared to the original version is the lid. The lid was originally made of chromium-plated steel with a wavy look. However, in the late 1940s it became possible to draw metal, since when the lid has been manufactured in stainless steel, giving the bin the domed, smooth design we know today.
1992 – THE DAUGHTER TAKES OVER
Holger Nielsen passes away in 1992, aged 78. A man with conservative views, he would never have imagined one of his daughters taking over Vipp. So when Holger’s wife Marie is left with both her hairdressing salon and Vipp to run, she is ready to sell Holger’s factory. However, Jette Egelund, the couple’s youngest daughter, cannot bear to see her father’s life’s work disappear. At the last moment she decides to take over the company. Vipp now becomes a second-generation family business.
At the time, Vipp bins are exclusively sold to the professional market, but Jette Egelund has a dream. She grew up with the pedal bin in her childhood home and wants others to enjoy the bin in their private homes too. She is convinced that the Vipp bin can be sold to design-conscious consumers on the look-out for a stylish waste bin for their bathrooms and kitchens.
1995 – A NEW TARGET GROUP: DESIGN ENTHUSIASTS’
Jette Egelund quits her full-time job as an HR consultant to devote herself exclusively to Vipp. Initially, she works from a desk in her bedroom. Every day, she receives orders for 5-10 bins, but the company is not making a profit. Something has to be done.
Jette sets out to visit some of the most upmarket furniture and design retailers in Denmark and the immediate markets. Many fail to appreciate the product’s potential, making it a difficult task to reach the next level.
1996 – INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH
Even though it proves to be a tough challenge, Jette Egelund refuses to give up. And her determination is rewarded. More and more people fall in love with the shape and qualities of the Vipp bin, and when The Conran Shop places an order for its stores in London and Paris, Jette is certain that she is taking the company in the right direction. At the same time, the German mail-order company Manufactum, which sells exclusive design products, exhibits Vipp in its catalogue. Sales increases significantly compared to the previous year.
The bin is slowly but safely growing into a success and the demand for supporting products arises. Jette Egelund designs the Vipp 11 toilet brush which immediately turns out to be a customer favorite. The Vipp 11 has since then been one of the best selling Vipp products.
1998 – THE THIRD GENERATION JOINS IN
From the beginning Jette Egelund handles everything herself, including production, administration and sales. As Vipp grows and more and more tasks arise, Jette’s two children Sofie and Kasper join the company. At this time it wasn’t written in the cards that Jette’s children would devote their careers to Vipp.
Jettes daughter Sofie becomes Vipp’s Art Director and sets the standard for all graphical material, while Kasper as Sales and Marketing Director takes the responsibility for securing the continuous growth of the company. Vipp is now a third-generation family business.
2000 – DESIGN ICON STOLEN
The original Vipp bin from 1939 is on display at Øksnehallen in Copenhagen at a furniture and interiors fair. Unfortunately, the bin is stolen from the exhibition, which leaves Vipp without Holger’s original bin.
2004 – EXPANSION
Vipp is still growing, and the demand for a larger headquarters emerges. By chance Kasper Egelund, the grandson of the founder, finds a 100 year-old royal printing house, which is in poor condition. But the family sees the potential in the buildings on Islands Brygge in Copenhagen and buys them. After a year of renovating by the acknowledged Danish architect Frank Maali, Vipp moves into the new headquarters in May 2005.
The headquarters houses a showroom, a workshop for Vipp Design Lab as well as offices for Vipp employees.
2005 – FROM HAUTE COUTURE AND CHARITY TO LOUVRE
I 2005, Vipp hosts its first charity event in the fashionable store Silvera in Paris where 30 designers, including Christian Lacroix, Philippe Starck and Chantal Thomass, help raise money for the organization Handicap International.
The following year, Vipp and The Conran Shop in London host an auction in aid of the charity organization Oxfam. The auction features Vipp bins decorated by Ron Arad, Sir Terence Conran, Nicole Farhi as well as Karim Rashid to name just a few.
The biggest event in Vipp’s history takes place in April 2006, when Vipp is invited to exhibit at Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. Chilean designer Mauricio Clavero is engaged with the task of creating a challenging art experience. He creates 36 unique Vipp bins and soap dispensers covered in Swarovski crystals, Sicis mosaics and lighting by Ambiance Lumiére. The exhibition subsequently tours major cities throughout Europe.
Today, production has multiplied, and Jette Egelund is no longer the only person steering Vipp towards new heights. Her two children, Sofie and Kasper, have taken over a major responsibility along with a professional management group. However, Jette Egelund still oversees business as chairman of the board and is working from the headquarters every day.
New products have been introduced and more will follow. This year Vipp has presented the new bathroom series to complete the bathroom furnishings. Vipp is now being sold worldwide and is set to open a showroom in New York to support the growing market in the US.
Holger Nielsen would hardly be able to recognize his company today. But one important thing hasn’t changed: Vipp still manufactures its pedal bins in Denmark, just as it did back in 1939. The materials are also the same: stainless steel and rubber. Each Vipp bin consists of up to 42 components and is hand-assembled by skilled craftsmen. One employee can assemble six bins per hour – insuring quality that lasts.