The Danish design firm Vipp was founded in 1939, but not on purpose. Marie Nielsen, newly married to Holger Nielsen, wanted to open a salon. Holger was a metalworker, so he was the natural choice to outfit the space with whatever he could make himself. Seventy years later, one of the things he made, a 14-liter push pedal trash can, would find its way to the Museum of Modern Art‘s permanent collection.
Originally, there were three bins in Marie’s hair salon, and apparently it so impressive to the salon’s patrons that they started asking Holger to sell them one. It wasn’t long before he introduced them to workspaces — gas stations, hospitals, police stations and other hair salons included. Designed with function and longevity above all else, the bin wasn’t initially thought of as a consumer product.
But what’s special about it? The bin is a blend of stainless and powder-coated steel, and it uses sound dampeners so the lid always closes quietly. The lid is airtight, too, so whatever smells or materials the inside of the bin harbors don’t affect the air surrounding it. Additionally, the base is rubber — this means it doesn’t damage floors when moved around (or when struggling to free a full trash bag — and its got “ears” on the side for easy moving. In the seven decades since the object was conceived of, it is hardly changed — the only differences lying in the shape of its domed lid and color options. It now comes in black and white.
Today, Vipp’s product catalog has expanded beyond its revered trash cans — it includes this heavenly desk lamp, for example — but the Pedal Bin remains the foundation of the brand. If you visit its website, you’ll find the words of its founder: “Good design never goes out of fashion.”
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