It’s rare that a design brand can back up the claim that it has revolutionized a daily-use item. Yet Vipp can proudly and truthfully say its brand is rooted in rethinking trash.
The company’s story began in 1932 when 17-year-old Holger Nielsen won a car in a lottery at a football stadium in Denmark. Without a driver’s licence, he sold the car and used the money to buy a metal lathe. He went on to open a factory in the small town Randers. In 1939, when his wife, who ran a hair salon, requested a waste bin for her shop, Nielsen got to work. The finished product was what is now known as the Vipp pedal bin, which makes disposing of waste hands-free and less smelly.
Seeing its effectiveness, his wife’s clients, the spouses of doctors and dentists, convinced their husbands to purchase the can, and the Vipp pedal bin became a staple in Danish medical offices. The sleek little trash can earned a place in the heart of the design world in 2009, when it became part of the permanent design collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. After taking over the company in the early ’90s, Nielsen’s daughter, Jette Egelund, worked to bring Vipp into homes, expanding the brand’s offerings to lighting, furniture, home accessories, and model kitchen.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Vipp explored new and interesting projects, like the Vipp Supper Club, which debuted in 2021 to showcase the culinary power behind Vipp kitchens and bring people together to enjoy excellent food in an former Copenhagen pencil factory. The Vipp Hotel concept, with single bookable rooms in various locations, immerses guests in Vipp design.
One of the brand’s newest endeavours is Vipp Studio NYC, the Tribeca showroom and private home of Sofie and Frank Christensen Egelund, their two kids, and a golden retriever. The apartment features Vipp products alongside the couple’s collection of Scandinavian art and furniture and is open to visitors by appointment. Sofie, the communications and concept director and third-generation owner of Vipp, and Frank, Vipp USA’s president, took on the interior decorating themselves, inspired by the space.
The year-long renovation brought new life to the 3,700-square-foot apartment while preserving the history of the building, which was built in 1883. With 13-foot ceilings and 17 large windows with views of Tribeca on one end and SoHo on the other, the studio maintains Vipp’s Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic with its neutral colour palette, an open floor plan, and contemporary lines. Throughout, attention to materials, like a Persian travertine-clad bathroom and wall-to-wall aluminum millwork in the kitchen, make the simplicity feel luxurious. “We’re always telling a story about materiality. We would say that materials, whether it is the rare stone and marble used, the softness of the felt walls, the warmth of the oak Dinesen floors, or the metal notes throughout, we’re always seeking harmony and balance—creating spaces that feel inspired yet grounded,” the Christensen Egelunds say.
While trying to maintain a showroom-ready home at all times may sound daunting, the family makes it work. “Our kids are surprisingly neat. Now that they’re teenagers, it is pretty seamless because they know how everything works. I guess if all you know is that everything needs to be its place, why would you do anything different?” the couple says. “Our dog, on the other hand, is very interested in our guests, so sometimes that can be a challenge.”
Ultimately, the studio lives up to its goal of showing customers how Vipp works in real life, especially in the kitchen, one of the highest-wear areas of the home and Frank’s favourite part of the apartment. “Our clients can touch, feel, see it all in real life,” the couple says. “Clients can see how the kitchen looks after being used for almost three years. If you open the drawers, our things are in there.”
Besides showcasing the durability and real-life application of Vipp’s offerings, the studio also serves as a laboratory for new products. “We recognize that being in North America means that there might be slight differences in sensibilities, so we play with our products here, whether it means we’re trying a new finish, upholstery, or new offering,” they explain. “We live with it here first before bringing it to the world, which means when our clients come to our home, a.k.a. Vipp Studio, they will always see something new.”
Next up for the brand is a Los Angeles location of the Vipp Hotel, a stint at Milan Design Week in April, and of course plenty of new programing at Vipp’s Denmark campus, including artist residencies and musical performances. No matter where the brand finds itself next, from big cities to remote cabins, it’s sure to prioritize high-quality design that pushes the envelope.
Photography by Pernille Loof.