The kinship in the Vipp collection is unmistakable; new as well as old products enhance Vipp’s more than 70-year-old tradition for design products in excellent quality.
The foundation of Vipp’s Design DNA derives from the classic pedal bin and is carried on by Vipp’s Chief Designer, Morten Bo Jensen: “Functionality and a distinctive idiom based on high quality materials and special manufacturing processes are the pillars of Vipp DNA and represents the common thread between past, present and future products,” explains Morten Bo, Chief Designer in Vipp.
Morten Bo Jensen is the creative mind behind recent years’ new Vipp products. At the rather tender age of 27, Morten Bo was entrusted to carry on the Vipp family’s design legacy. Educated industrial designer in Denmark and with a past working for the Biomega Bike brand, Morten Bo took on the challenge of bringing the 70-year-old Vipp design DNA into the future.
From the company’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Morten Bo runs Vipp Design Lab that continuously seeks to combine aesthetics and functionality in order to reach new dimensions.
Q&A with Morten Bo Jensen, Chief Designer in Vipp.
How would you describe the Vipp design DNA?
“Basically we try to cultivate an emotional connection between Vipp products and Vipp customers; the joy inherent in the daily use of a high quality product. We hear from customers who have moved temporarily to another country and have prioritized to take their Vipp bin with them to their new home in spite of scarce space and time. This level of trust and love is an extremely valuable asset for Vipp and something we seek to promote with all new Vipp products - it is one of the primary objectives working with our DNA”.
"Working with a Design DNA is about getting to the core and grow the particular and unique characteristics, which are hallmarks of a brand or product. Popularly speaking, a strong DNA product does not need a logo - it tells all by itself where it is from through its form, material or function and technology. When we are working with our design DNA, we don’t have a check list that we follow but a large number of elements that we strategically are working to integrate in the design process where and when these make sense. Like our original pedal bin, the newer Vipp products are rooted more in their function than aesthetics - you can say that aesthetics stems from function”.
“But our aim is also to develop products, which are better than what's already available on the market. It is not just about developing something that is new or different, for that reason alone. For example, we believe that there lacked a proper dishwashing brush on the market that can last a long time and as an alternative to "disposable" versions offers the possibility to replace the head, and therefore we decided to develop our own". We combine elements like these with our distinctive designs and materials that together express a VIPP product with a strong DNA. So Vipp DNA involves both concrete forms and materials but also on clear positions".
Why was Vipp an attractive home for you to develop your career as industrial designer?
“The fact that Vipp is built on a foundation of superior craftsmanship and a great story was of course extremely attractive, but the fact that Vipp was committed to expanding its product portfolio and thereby developing its story, made the job an extremely attractive proposition”.
“The Egelunds, the family behind Vipp, and I clicked immediately on what constitutes good design. I had worked for the Biomega bike brand, optimising the design of what was essentially an everyday item, seeking to make it more contemporary and international. In many ways, this reflected Vipp’s approach to design – continuing its heritage of engineering high-end design solutions, but adding a more modern edge and broader range. Vipp had started to develop new product groups with external designers, but in order to fully understand and honour the Vipp DNA you have to live and breathe it from the inside. That is the reason why hiring an in-house designer felt right for Vipp and since I personally have chosen to specialize in the DNA design discipline, we were also closely attuned on this front. I still feel very privileged to have gotten this opportunity”.
“At Vipp, the design process is fully integrated with product development so with a joint effort, we have the opportunity to follow a product all the way to the door. This provides deep insight into the materials, the constructions and manufacturing processes that we and our network of suppliers work with.
This knowledge is invaluable and of great importance every time we start up a new design process and is in fact also indirectly helping to create visual connections between our products. The object and its development are inseparable, so the design process does not end until we hold the finished product in our hands."
How do you tangibly connect new Vipp products to the old bin?
“There are distinct similarities between the more than 70-year-old Vipp bin and newer Vipp products. When looking at our complete product collection, the aesthetic synergy and coherence are evident event despite the fact that the collection contains products developed over 70 years ago. At the same time each product serve its own different function so the relationship is dynamic but nevertheless unmistakable.
Holger Nielsen’s original pedal bin was not designed in the strict traditional sense, but got its visual expression in response to a series of functional criteria: A large foot so it is stable; 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, a rubber ring at the base to protect the floor etc. These functional dogmas remain the starting point for our designs. For example the cover of our laundry basket is made of the same thickness of steel using the same principle of production but designed in a more contemporary form. It has also become a decorative pattern consisting of approx. 1900 holes which of course has its origins in the need to ventilate laundry. The Vipp bin is also equipped with a specially developed damping mechanism making the lid close in a smooth and damped motion. On the Vipp mini table, it was therefore an evident choice to keep in line with Holger's ideas and work from a principle of damped legs to ensure stability and moreover to enhance the experience of a solidly designed everyday product".
How does Vipp respect the Danish design tradition of ‘form follows function’?
"There are now many different and new approaches to design, but I am personally very passionate about DNA design; to interpret and expand on a really good story, which in this case is rooted in function. When we design a new product, we consider it both before, during and after as a tool that will be used to produce or accomplish something - a tool that must have a long life and where the feeling of quality and product eligibility shall be loved each and every time it is used. With this approach we believe that we use our experience and expertise to maximize value for our customers."