Sofie Christensen Egelund, the granddaughter of Vipp founder Holger Nielsen, is sitting in the kitchen of her apartment in Tribeca, New York, talking about the principles of good design. ‘One of the things my grandfather wanted to do when designing the [original Vipp] pedal bin was to make something that would be functional but also visually beautiful. So, with that in mind, every time we make new products we apply the same values.
‘I think the secret of making long-lasting products,’ says Sofie, ‘is to not just use the most modern and fashionable materials, and also to not add things that don’t have any purpose. Keep it basic but beautiful, and in 15 years’ time it should still be working and look just as pleasing to the eye.’
Sofie is now the concept director for the Danish design brand. Two years ago, she moved from her native Denmark – with her husband, Vipp vice president Frank Christensen Egelund – to New York to spread the word about the Vipp product line, which now extends to kitchen, bathroom, lighting and myriad homeware items. The pair have discovered that modern America, though hardwired to technology and digital networking, is very much a people place when it comes to the design community. ‘Opportunities occur, things happen when you actually go out and meet people,’ says Sofie. Frank continues, ‘You can write tons of emails and send out hundreds of pictures, but with our products, you have to touch them to understand them. We travel a lot in order to approach architects and interior designers and get the brand known in the US.’
Frequent flying, both across the US and also to Denmark and the rest of Europe, requires rigorous planning, careful packing and easy access to working tools when on the move. For Sofie, the mother of two young children, her old habit of burdening each journey with multiple bags – suitcase, laptop, carry-on - has now been streamlined and elegantly propelled forward by another example of beautifully simple design; the Boxer by Dutch mobility brand Bugaboo. A super-smart, ingeniously adaptable, modular luggage system, the Boxer is a global mobility gamechanger, elegantly revolutionising travel with its easy-steer chassis construction, ingenious retractable wheels, effortlessly interlocking cases and bags, and a quick-access compartment for your boarding pass and passport.
‘Bugaboo has thought really carefully about the functionality of the case,’ says Sofie, who owned a Bugaboo stroller when her children were small. ‘Carrying three bags when I am travelling is irritating and stressful, especially when I am with my children, but having all my stuff together in one modular unit is really clever. I think it’s interesting that Bugaboo is going into a completely new business, taking its experience from one market and applying it to another,’ she says, adding, with typical Danish understatement, ‘I think it has succeeded pretty well.’