The Vipp trash bin, Danish domestic icon and family heirloom

June 7, 2018



Angel Yulo

It is lunch break in Copenhagen. Whisking through the residents, tourists, and tulips lounging in the  sun, a young man pedals through on his bicycle carrying a white metal cylinder some might mistake for a Star Wars droid. He makes his way West to the harbor front, where the Vipp headquarters are. He knocks at the office door and asks if he can get his family’s old trash bin repaired.

Vipp began in 1939 when metalworker Holger Nielsen made a waste bin for his wife Marie because she needed one in her salon. Nielsen, knowing that a hairdresser’s hands are some of the busiest in the city, designed a pedal-operated bin. It has a large foot for stability, a domed steel lid on top which is easy to clean, ears on the side of the body so it is easy to move around and a rubber ring at the base for protection the floor. It was a hit with Marie and with her clients, many of whom were the wives of doctors.

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Marie Nielsen’s salon

In the 1950s, the Vipp bin became ubiquitous with Danish doctor’s clinics. By the 1990s, the business was scaled up by the third generation of Nielsens. The Vipp product line now includes  kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, lighting, accessories, as well as a prefab cabin. Nevertheless, just as Holger sought to ease Marie’s everyday life, today’s Vipp employees still think of themselves as tool builders—designing things that work and last long.

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Due to new production techniques in 1949, the Vipp lid changes form. Instead of a wavy welded lid it is now stamped out with a rounded shape.

Next year, the Vipp bin will celebrate 80 years in the market. There have been very minor adjustments to its form, but the function stays true to it’s prototype in Marie’s salon. That’s a testament to the design’s relevance. “We want to create products that will last a long time and deliberately disregard trends. We take pride in being un-trendy,” shared Vipp chief designer Morten Bo Jensen when he visited Manila last month.

If you think about it, something about this design makes people carry a trash bin through a city during lunch break. If you can make people connect that way to a product, I think you have achieved something spectacular,” Jensen added. 

Vipp‘s first stand-alone store in Asia is now open in Manila. Visit it at Shangril-la at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City.

Photos via

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