The Vipp design story — Part 1.
Szerző: Solinfo
Category: Design Stories
Post date: 2022.01.07

The Vipp story begins in 1939, when a young metalworker, Holger Nielsen, builds a powerful, pedal-operated dustbin for his wife Marie’s salon. The choice of the name is no coincidence, since the Danish word “vippe” means “to tilt”, which describes the movement of a dustbin lid. Over the next 50 years, this ground-breaking product will become a permanent fixture in Danish sanitary facilities. Today the brand – still family-owned Vipp – has a broad portfolio of industrial designs developed from the functional philosophy of the pedal bin. In this two-part blog post, we describe how their character has evolved over the decades.


One Sunday in the spring of 1932, 17-year-old Holger Nielsen wins a car in a tombola at the local football stadium. Holger loved cars but didn’t have a driver’s license, so he decided to sell the car and invest the money in a metal turning lathe that would allow him to work with one of his great passions, steel.

The iconic pedal-operated dustbin was then born, in the designer’s wife Marie Nielsen’s hairdressing salon. Holger, who was a skilled metalworker, also designed other industrial and household products for the salon, which later went into production – hair dryers, handkerchief holders and the pedal bin design was changed several times throughout the 1940s and 1950s. The small metal dustbin was an unexpected success and by the 1950s it was a staple in Danish clinics.

Generational change

By the 1960s, the company had become a stable market player and remained a stable family business in terms of size until the 1990s. Then a new generation took over: Jette Egelund, the youngest daughter of Holger Nielsen, who grew up with the pedal bin, as the Vipp factory was located in the backyard of her childhood home. Jette took over her father’s company when there was only one other employee working at the metalworks and was forced to learn how to make industrial products from scratch. Later, she decided to take on the task of introducing Holger’s principles of functionality into interior design for private homes with her two children, Kasper and Sofie.

Changing mindsets

The new generation brought new products and new ways of thinking: in 1996, Jette designed the toilet brush with no blueprints or specifications, just a knowledge of materials and a desire to work with the components of her father’s wastebasket in a new way, creating entirely new products.

Jette changed not only the design process but also the client management, so he did something his father never did – he visited his clients, the best furniture and design stores in Scandinavia. In Denmark, very few people recognised the potential of the ‘dentist’s bin’, but her determination was rewarded: the iconic bin became a household name, and The Conran Shop ordered from the bin for their Paris and London stores – by then Jette knew she was on the right track.

Expansion led to growth, and in 2006, Vipp’s new head designer Morten Bo Jensen was tasked with carrying on Holger’s legacy and taking it into the future. Vipp’s first product was a laundry basket. The company then added a wide range of kitchen and bathroom products, and has since expanded its portfolio, thanks to a total focus on functionality and a clean, industrial and minimalist design.

In November 2009, Vipp’s pedal-driven trash can was included in the permanent architecture and design collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York – the only place in the world where the product is just decoration. “It’s a truly humble masterpiece. This frills-free, industrial, aesthetic and efficient pedal is the epitome of good design.” – said Chay Costello, MoMA’s Director of Sales.

In the 2010s, the Vipp brand entered the world of contemporary interior design with a renewed design philosophy of its own, adding its unique character to not only Scandinavian, but also global design culture. If you want to know more about the details and why the development of the Vipp brand is important in the life of Solinfo, follow Solinfo Magazine – we will be back soon with the second part of the Vipp story.