80 years on, the humble pedal bin from Vipp is still a design icon

19 May 2019 - 00:00 By Mila Crewe-Brown

Even those of you questioning the sentiment that a bin could yield a "cult" following would recognise the Vipp pedal bin at a glance. The Danish brand's beloved pedal bin has been its core offering for almost a century. Celebrated for its robust yet simple design and utilitarian aesthetic, it has secured a permanent position at MoMA New York.
So, how does a pedal bin become a design icon?
In 1939 metalsmith Holger Nielsen designed a pedal bin for wife Marie's hair salon. His creation, the Vipp bin, was a one-off, not for sale, highly functional and indestructible piece of design that soon became the envy of many doctors and dentists. For those requiring a hard-working, hands-free bin of the utmost quality and good looks, Vipp was it. And so a brand was born.
After Nielsen's death, his daughter Jette, who had no experience in the business, took the reins in 1992. Until that point the bin had been successful in work environments, but was not yet a feature in the home. Jette, together with her children, worked on making the bin available for home use, tirelessly approaching designers and retail outlets.
When The Conran Shop began to stock the bin in 2000, the world's gaze fell on Vipp. While its design has seen minor tweaks over the years, it remains close to the original, featuring a damper mechanism to ensure smooth closing of the lid; a rubber ring at the base to protect floors, and another beneath the lid for an airtight, odour-free seal.
Vipp's love of solid materials, particularly steel, remains at the heart of its production. Its preference for function before form, as well as high levels of quality and endurance put Vipp into a class of its own. But the Vipp of today is a major player in the design arena for more than just its beloved bin.
Under the guidance ofchief designer Morten Bo Jensen, Vipp has secured its place in the hearts of modern design aficionados. The Vipp stable carries a wide array of household items from utilitarian dust pans to a soap dispenser that many have tried to copy. The homeware range features everything from glassware and ceramics to shelves and storage containers, all bearing the tell-tale understated industrial aesthetic that has become the brand's calling card.
Then came lighting, followed by kitchens. Vipp's bent for detail, functionality and durability has resulted in a range of modular steel kitchens designed to be as flexible as their owners. Vipp designed everything, down to the taps, and these sexy kitchen units have marked a shift for the industry.
Next came Shelter, designed by Jensen with simplicity at its heart - the idea was to design a nature retreat down to the finest details that would match the brand's growing product line.
This was followed by Hotel, an unconventional getaway, not with rooms under one roof but offering guests a number of getaways in various locations - the shelter being the first, along with a loft and a heritage house. These are curated design destinations that offer guests the opportunity to live and experience the Vipp design philosophy, its products and its kitchens; the latter cleverly offering potential buyers full use of their kitchens before committing to their own.
Following successful collaborations with Bono, Damien Hirst and Calvin Klein, Vipp turned to French graphic artist Vahram Muratyan to design a limited-edition 80th birthday pedal bin. The result is bold, exciting and true to the brand's roots.
An animated silhouette of Copenhagen plays out across the bin's surface in vibrant colour, with a nod to the artist's characteristic Paris and New York graphics. Here you'll see the Port of Nyhavn's brightly painted buildings, Tivoli amusement park and Copenhagen's ubiquitous cyclists.Despite its global successes, Vipp wanted to return to its Danish roots for its 80th, underpinning the Scandinavian design philosophy that is both timeless and functional.

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