CAN IT! at Design Within Reach: Trash Bins from Yoko Ono to Ralph Lauren


What do Oscar de la Renta, David Rockwell, Yoko Ono, Rikke Korff of The Furies, and Lady Pink share in common? For VIPP’s 70th anniversary, thirty-five leading movers and shakers of design have joined forces to each create a uniquely customized waste bin. Currently on display at Design Within Reach: Tools for Living on Wooster Street, the wildly blinged-out cans will be auctioned off at the end of the month, with all proceeds benefiting DIFFA (Designer’s Industries Foundation Fighting Aids).

Inspiration for this project seems to runs the gamut from chic to freak. The finished art pieces are in all shapes, sizes and colors. David Stark’s gigantic cactus bin seems permanently frozen in a wide-eyed, “my hands are up officer” position, while a psychedelic lite-brite confection cooked up by Shelly Sabel brings back a little childhood nostalgia. Against a mural, Veronica Webb’s ring-adorned bin inspired by the “giraffe” women of South Africa’s Ndebele Tribe is juxtaposed alongside Michael Aram’s sculptural hammered golden pear.

“In world mythology, pears represent bounty and gluttony,” he explained. “What more perfect for a receptacle of waste than a golden symbol of excess?”

Ralph Lauren’s classic creation, a polished black crocodile-leather covered bin, is dominated by an explosion of “litter” from another receptacle. Complete with used straw in cup, overflowing garbage forces its way out through the center of a taller bin in iconic white.

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As Kasper Egelund, grandson of VIPP’s Danish founder, explains the project: “Today what you see here is the result of thirty-five creative imaginations playing with the brand and the product. We gave them four weeks, and total freedom to do whatever they want. It is a winning collaboration for all with Design Within Reach. A fantastic project for the designers that will in the end benefit an excellent cause (DIFFA) with the auction.”

Holger Nielsen probably never expected the metal pedal bin he designed as a labor of love to take on a whole life of its own. Since its birth in 1939, the original materials and design has barely been altered. A truly great design endures the test of time. Says Kasper, “My grandfather is not around anymore and never experienced VIPP becoming the success it is today. Now, it recognized as an icon of design.”

All thirty-five customized VIPP bins will be on public display for advance bidding at Design Within Reach: Tools for Living store in New York till October 28th. The gala event and auction is hosted by Veronica Webb in conjunction with DWR, VIPP, and DIFFA, held at DWR’s SoHo flagship store.