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Where I Work: Morten Bo Jensen of Vipp

Our love of Danish company Vipp is well-documented, thanks to their storied family history and consistently well-made, design-focused products. The family-run company brought in Danish designer Morten Bo Jensen in 2006 to continue and drive the legacy and in his role as Vipp’s Chief Designer, he has helped keep the business on a steady upswing ever since. Today, Jensen gives us a look into the Copenhagen offices where they make it all happen, in this Where I Work.

What is your typical work style?

Being Chief Designer at Vipp means I spend my working hours at the Vipp office in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, I constantly think about design, how to improve it and how to create value for our customers. Basically, my work style is to avoid short-lived trends, but instead develop products people will enjoy using for 30 years or more.

Another important aspect of my work is that I work closely with our CEO, product developers, and engineers, who are also at the office.

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What’s your studio/work environment like?

We are a team and the results we make, we make together. What is characteristic about Vipp is that most parts of the company are gathered in one open office; Design, product development, PR and communication, Graphics and management. It makes decision making very efficient and means that we always are aligned and up to date across the organization.

Furthermore, I’m surrounded by inspiring and dedicated colleagues who make it fun coming to work every day.

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How is your office organized/arranged?

Our office is divided into three areas. On the first floor we have our meeting rooms, the ground floor is an open office with lots of windows giving sunlight to the 27 people working here. In the basement we have a large dining room, where we all have lunch every day, and a small workshop where we develop and test new designs.

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How long have you been in this space? Where did you work before that?

I have been at Vipp since 2006. I worked for the urban bike brand biomega for several years before Vipp. I have always been inspired by industrial designs and the challenge to integrate function, quality, and aesthetics in one piece.

If you could change something about your workspace, what would it be?

Hmmm… it would be cool with a CNC milling machine and a man to operate it full time in our workshop. It would be an effective way to test ideas and thoughts.

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Is there an office pet?
No… or sometimes. Our graphic designer’s dog, Luna, sometimes visits us ;)

Do you require music in the background? If so, who are some favorites?

Sometimes and if I do, I often listen to Broadway Killers – my colleague Jakob’s awesome rock band. Go check ’em out.

How do you record ideas?

For the most part, I take pictures of small special details or other design-related items. I want to explore things deeper, separate them and find out how they are put together and how they work.

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Do you have an inspiration board? What’s on it right now?

I use Tumblr a lot – that’s a great source for inspiration. To me working at Vipp is a constant process on how to interpret what Vipp stands for in terms of new products. It is a kind of constant optimization, which is quite a metal process.

What kind of design objects might you have scattered about the space?

A flashlight, an old typewriter, chairs, samples of different materials, etc.

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Are there tools and/or machinery in your space? 

We have several smaller tools and some machinery in our workshop, but we don’t work in such a traditional craftsmanship-way. Industrial design is to me a team effort where elements like production and tooling play a major role. Therefore, a huge part of the process is to establish the right dialogue with the partners who eventually will produce the product and make sure we use their skills in the best possible way. Some of our partners are especially good in producing physical prototypes and design mock-ups.

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What tool do you most enjoy using in the design process? 

Time. Having time to do things right! Not that we don’t work with deadlines, because we do. However, we are independent, which means we have time to do things just the way we want and release them when we are satisfied. We only do one product in each product category, so we strive for perfection in every design.

Let’s talk about how you’re wired. Tell us about your tech arsenal/devices.

Very traditional, nothing fancy. Mail, phone, computer.

What design software do you use, if any, and for what?

Solidworks.

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Is there a favorite project you’ve worked on?

Our latest, the Vipp Shelter.

Do you feel like you’ve “made it”? What has made you feel like you’ve become successful? At what moment/circumstances? Or what will it take to get there?

I don’t think I will ever feel like “I’ve made it”. I am – just like Vipp – on a constant journey aiming for higher and more ambitious goals. I’d rather say, I’ve made it so far. But, I have more dreams and when they have been fulfilled new ones will appear.

I have a profound belief that we – as a brand – must develop our products from a certain philosophy and DNA. We have to stand for something! To have been working with the DNA of Vipp for eight years, to have launched numerous products and seen how our approach works really makes me happy.

Tell us about a current project you’re working on. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’m working on our biggest and most ambitious project ever. The Vipp Shelter. This idea was born from a need our CEO, Kasper Egelund, had, while he was living in New York. A need I also felt, when I was resident in Hong Kong. As humans, I believe, we sometimes have a longing to escape in to nature. Smell the fresh air and be surrounded by nothing. Our general ambition is to make functional tools and our approach to designing the shelter was therefore; “how can we make a tool that puts us in nature?”

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What’s on your desk right now?

Look for yourself, haha!

Do you have anything in your home that you’ve designed/created?

All designs I have ever made (more or less) are in my home. One can say I’m living with my designs – from the Vipp kitchen to the suction hook. I consider it not only a big privilege, being able to run long term tests on quality and function… my twins are really rough handed and tough judges.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.