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business models, strategies and technologies

Vipping the philosophy of the hotel

Danish design company Vipp has successfully and delectably de-constructed the hotel, focusing on quality experience and immersion, without the traditional regimentation

The Danish design company Vipp is almost irritatingly good – they seem to provide a steady stream of surprising measures and new angles on many different aspects of the design experience, inserting their distinctive style in unusual contexts. The operative word(s) here is “design experience”: despite their origins in a mundane metal pedal bin for hairdresser’s salons, the company seems to have succeeded in keeping the conceptual doors open so that Vipp design items are often presented in contexts and environments that add to the perceived value and richness.

Distributed design

Most recently Vipp has delivered a singularly refreshing rethink on the whole philosophy of the hotel. “Instead of having many rooms in one location, we offer unique rooms at various destinations,” in their deliciously pared-down pronouncement. As of early 2108, these “rooms” consist of a much-photographed cabin-like shelter at Lake Immeln in Sweden, a gorgeous urban loft in Copenhagen and a newly restored northern-Copenhagen landmark known as the Chimney House.

The Vipp hotel is a self-service concept distributed over multiple locations, providing curated design destinations out of the ordinary – with Vipp’s distinctive take on design featuring heavily, not surprisingly.

Delightfully simple, disarmingly obvious, but so invigoratingly unusual. At a single stroke, this idea removes my main objection to the whole idea of a hotel – that when push comes to shove I as guest am merely an item on a production/assembly line where my interests in the personal experience are fundamentally opposed to the hotelier’s need for efficiency – however much price mechanisms might muddy the perceptual waters on this.

I know (Danish) hotels have upped their game considerably in recent years, but is there anything more fundamentally soul-destroying than walking down a hotel corridor – regardless of sumptuousness or price point – past all the battery hen cubbyholes – however big or sleekly appointed – lined up on both sides? I feel robbed of my individuality and passively system-parked for the night. But that’s probably just me …

The Vipp Hotel idea resides somewhere on the same continuum as AirBnB as an antidote to all this, but the whole idea of multi-site locations for something previously inherently single-site reveals an unusually fertile appreciation of design capabilities. It’s also, of course, a great differentiator when the supply side of the central Copenhagen hotel market is set to grow by 47% over the next three years.

Monetised showrooms

There’s another dimension to all this, of course. What Vipp is also doing here is “monetising” showrooms – I note that the Vipp Loft is the top floor of their corporate HQ. And I’d also guess that the Vipp Shelter (shown above) has more than earned its cost from the wealth of media writeups it’s garnered over the years. Any additional revenue can only be a plus.