Vipp: Thinking Big

In his 11-year tenure as chief designer at storied Danish design brand Vipp, Morten Bo Jensen has helped to grow the company into one of the world’s most revolutionary product design firms. Jensen’s approach is entirely holistic; he believes that every design, whether a lamp or an entire bathroom suite, should adhere to a set of carefully conceived criteria – a tenet that has proved the driving force behind Vipp’s unmistakable brand of industrial chic. “I’ve always loved creating environments,” the designer explains. “When I was a child I used to create themes for my bedroom. After I saw the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail, I turned it into a bar. I was so obsessive about detail; most kids would have been happy with a poster!”

Jensen went on to study Industrial Design at Aalborg University, before accepting a role at forward-thinking Danish bike company Biomega in 2003. “Every product that Biomega designed was centred on the idea of urban commuting,” he explains of this formative first job, “and it was there that I learnt the value of designing within a commercial branding context.”

It was this passion for philosophy-driven design that drew Jensen towards Vipp, a company he had long respected. “The heritage of Vipp constituted huge potential in my eyes. I had actually bought a Vipp bin in 2004, two years before I began working there,” he says, referencing the iconic, pedal-operated trash can devised by its founder Holger Nielsen in 1939, that is synonymous with the brand. “When a product has endured for so long, it’s definitive proof that the set of values on which it’s based is something worth building upon, and I was determined to be a part of that.”

For Nielsen’s grandson and Vipp CEO Kasper Egelund, Jensen’s understanding of “the Vipp DNA” was just what he was looking for in his quest to expand the company. “We were both very young when Morten came onboard,” Egelund recalls, “but I could see instantly that Vipp’s values were very much aligned with his personal beliefs: using genuine materials and expert craftsmanship to create a product that has a long lifespan; prizing function over form; designing with a disregard for zeitgeist trends, but producing something beautiful. He says that my grandfather is the best friend he never met.”

This story was created in partnership with Vipp

Continue reading in Oak volume Eight