SPARKS FLY through the air, blubbery with a sawdust haze, as a artisan solders a collective at the top of a makeshift staircase, central an old red-brick architectonics on the arctic outskirts of Copenhagen, abreast the coast.
Kasper Egelund, the CEO and third-generation co-owner of Vipp—the 79-year-old Danish architectonics aggregation best accepted for its iconic debris can—climbs the broken flight to analysis the scene. Floodlights brighten raw floors, devious base and amateurish walls below, and a contempo roof addendum overhead. The basic of the architectonics are good, its accommodation handsome; nevertheless, this is a architectonics armpit with absolutely a way to go.
“I apprehend it requires some acuteness at this stage,” says Kasper, 43. “But anon abundant this will be the ultimate advertise of our cast universe.”
This March, the Chimney House, called for the outsize assemblage that sprouts from this above water-pumping station’s roof, will become the third beginning of Vipp Hotel, a alternation of Vipp-styled spaces meant for concise stays. Advised in accord with one of Copenhagen’s buzziest adolescent architectonics practices, Studio David Thulstrup, this two-bedroom accession to Vipp’s portfolio will acquiesce visiting aesthetes the adventitious to animate an arcadian adaptation of Danish life.
“Traditional retail seems to be accident its power, but what is not accident ability is our admiration to see or do or apprehend about article interesting,” says Kasper. He sees the Chimney House as “the acquaintance abridgement advancing alive.”
Alongside several custom Thulstrup-designed pieces, a abundant another of Vipp articles will accouter the Chimney House, allotment of a calendar that today includes home accessories, furniture, lighting, bath units, a modular kitchen arrangement and alike a billet home. The 1,800-square-foot amplitude will be active affidavit of Vipp’s evolution: What began about 80 years ago as a apprehensive bin business has become an all-embracing affairs cast with big ambitions and a able point of view.
“Our additional artefact was a toilet brush,” says Kasper’s mother, Jette Egelund, 68, afterwards in the day, at the company’s Copenhagen headquarters. “I absolutely advised it myself, and we appear it in 1996. It accepted to be actual popular.”
Since demography over the aggregation in 1992, aback her father, Vipp architect Holger Nielsen, died, Jette has captivated aloof about every role in the company, from artefact artist to CEO. She handed over the reins to Kasper in 2011, and today she is the armchair of Vipp’s board. Both Kasper and his adolescent sister, Sofie Christensen Egelund, 40—currently the brand’s advice and abstraction director, based in New York—officially abutting Vipp in the aboriginal ’00s. Together the three Egelunds are the sole owners of the business, one congenital on transforming mundane, generally unglamorous domiciliary trivialities into adorable accoutrement to be both acclimated and admired.
From a $79 dishwashing besom to a $12,000 leather-and-aluminum daybed, there is an artful and built-in aplomb that pervades the Vipp collection, which has developed to accommodate added than 50 articles beneath the administration of the brand’s arch designer, Morten Bo Jensen. Quality craftsmanship, categorical finishes and the common use of elastic and animate actualize a able automated attending and feel. This accord extends to the actuality that anniversary of Vipp’s artefact categories is best generally authentic by a single, hyperfunctional option.
“The aboriginal affair I consistently acquaint addition about the kitchen is that they can accept it in whatever blush they want,” says Kasper. “As continued as it’s black.”
Launched in 2011, Vipp’s kitchen—a architectonics that ranges from $40,000 to $100,000—is absolutely accessible alone in one black hue. There are no another handles, finishes or countertops. The alone variables are how abounding modular units are appropriate and how they are configured. In the advantageous and awful aggressive kitchen market, which tends to be all about customization, this take-it-or-leave-it access seems decidedly daring.
But there accept been affluence of takers. The aboriginal U.S. chump to get a Vipp kitchen was Marcus Wainwright, the co-founder and CEO of appearance characterization Rag & Bone. Photographer Douglas Friedman installed one in his additional home in Marfa, Texas, and Vipp additionally counts the skin-care cast Aesop as a echo client.
Since 2015, Sofie and her husband, Frank Christensen Egelund, 47, accept run Vipp’s stateside operations, alive out of a Tribeca “showroom” that’s additionally their home. “Over actuality the kitchen seems to accept decidedly clicked with bodies in appearance and advertising, artists and architects,” says Sofie. “The artistic association has been the majority so far.”
Sofie addendum that in the time she and Frank accept been in New York, the business has tripled its U.S. sales (the aggregation does not about acknowledge capacity of its financials). Of course, there’s still affluence of allowance for the cast to abound in this big, new market. “Sometimes over the buzz you try and get through to a abeyant client, and they say: ‘Vipp? Sorry, how do you spell that? Never heard of it.’ That can be humbling, as aback home we’re now absolutely able-bodied known,” Sofie says. “But it additionally makes us athirst to acquaint the adventure of my grandfather’s artefact and all that has happened since.”
In 1992, aback Jette Egelund took over Vipp, the aggregation was based in her hometown of Randers—a above automated hub on Denmark’s Jutland peninsula—and was authoritative aloof two products, both debris cans with flip-top lids. (The name Vipp was aggressive by the Danish verb vippe, acceptation “tilt.”)
Holger Nielsen, who was accomplished as a metalworker, had developed his aboriginal bin as a one-off for his wife Marie Axelsen’s beard salon. There, the wives of bounded doctors and dentists noticed it and recommended it to their husbands. Over the decades, the bin became a admired of Denmark’s medical professionals, and a baby but acceptable business developed as Vipp saturated the analytic market.
Jette recalls her aboriginal decade at Vipp as an acclivous battle. She was blessed to accept larboard abaft careers in amusing assignment and HR, but in the aboriginal canicule of managing the company, she still had to booty on odd jobs (singing in a choir, amid them) for added income, afterwards annulment larboard her financially unsettled, with two teenagers to raise. Yet she was absorbed on authoritative the bin accepted above a able context, and she boring but absolutely broadcast sales locally and beyond Europe.
By the backward ’90s, the retail bazaar best up, and the debris can beyond the beginning from accessible to private: In Denmark, Vipp absolutely actually became a domiciliary name, as the bin became a accoutrement in the kitchens and bathrooms of endless design-conscious homes.
In 2009, aback New York’s Museum of Modern Art added Nielsen’s aboriginal bin to its architectonics collection, Vipp became a allotment of the all-embracing architectonics record. “With the angled contour and the abating babble the lid makes aback it closes, it’s a affable design…. It shows that annihilation is too unimportant to deserve the designer’s attention,” says Juliet Kinchin, the MoMA architectonics babysitter who acquired the bin. “It was a big moment,” recalls Jette. “As time goes by, it feels like a bogie tale. But it’s additionally not over yet.”
This autumn, Vipp will burrow added into the appliance bazaar aback it debuts both a dining and a lounge chair. The designs will affection new materials, softer silhouettes and added nuanced interpretations of the brand’s automated DNA, Kasper notes.
Also in the works is a new adaptation of the brand’s prefabricated home, the Vipp Shelter. Launched in 2015, the aboriginal archetypal sits on the shores of Lake Immeln in southern Sweden. A glass-fronted animate container, the 592-square-foot berth acquired into the aboriginal area of the Vipp Hotel—the additional is a attic aloft the company’s Copenhagen headquarters—an endeavor that hints at what the aggregation may be aiming for in the future: creating a Vipp way of life.
“We were a debris can brand. Again we became a bath brand, again a kitchen and bath brand, and now we’re what you alarm a affairs brand. But is that it? There’s no aphorism that says this is area it ends,” says Kasper. “You accept to accept a dream and again accompany it like hell.” •
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