I visited Copenhagen last summer to see why the Danish capital is consistently ranked among the highest in quality of life and self-rated happiness. As it turns out, the Danes, and Copenhageners in particular, aren’t just among the happiest people on the planet, they’ve even come up with a term, or rather, an entire philosophical system, to describe this state of bliss. Locals call it Lykke.
It’s not hard to see why Danes are so happy. Apart from their famously generous welfare system, Lykke likewise finds itself in the way Danish cities are planned — and designed for the enjoyment of its citizens. In Copenhagen, this means numerous parks, greenbelts, public squares and carless streets. Indeed, in the Danish capital, cars take a backseat to mass transport — and to bicycles most especially. With the world’s widest network of bicycle paths, one can get to and from any point in the city without ever having to get off his or her bike.
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It’s no wonder some of the most progressive urban planners and architects are Danish. Copenhagen leads the world in sustainable urban architecture with public buildings and spaces designed to encourage citizens to come together and interact regardless of race and class. It’s not an entirely new trend, either. The need to gather is based on yet another uniquely Danish concept — Hygge: the desire to create a soothing and cozy atmosphere in pretty much every place, every moment, and everyone. Nowhere else is Hygge expressed as thoroughly as in the intimate spaces of home and work. Or in the case of visitors to the city such as myself, a particularly Hyggelighotel room.
I wasn’t sure what to expect after booking the Vipp Loft and being reminded by their website that “As soon as you check in at the Vipp Hotel, it’s fully booked.” As a journalist whose work includes covering the best hotels around the world, I’m quite immune to clever marketing lines like these. But I admit I was intrigued. And genuinely surprised to discover what that message actually meant upon arriving at the beautifully restored building in the former working class, but currently uber-trendy, Islands Brygge neighborhood in Copenhagen harbor.
For starters, The Vipp Loft doesn’t look anything like a hotel. The single room, if you can call it that, is located in the third and uppermost story of the corporate headquarters of Vipp, a family-owned Danish industrial design and manufacturing company that produces furniture and accessories for the home. The firm’s most recognizable product, the iconic Vipp waste bin, is displayed in the permanent exhibit of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Instead of a hotel manager, I was met by the owner of Vipp, Jette Egelund, who told me how she first came across the property and why she decided to convert the former printing factory into an office and events space with a single hotel room at the top, “We went to this place to have some books and brochures printed for Vipp and it turned out that the printer wanted to retire, so we decided to purchase it. It was in really bad condition with old machinery but I had a feeling that if we tore everything out we could convert this into something amazing.”
With the help of the Danish Firm Studio David Thulstrup and Vipp’s own staff of designers, the Vipp Loft was conceptualized to serve as both a hotel suite and product showroom where guests could experience Vipp design and Danish Hyggesimultaneously. On the lower floor of the 400-square meter, split-level, open plan loft is a spacious lounge with a fireplace, a dining area, a fully-equipped kitchen, and the master’s bedroom with en-suite bath. Connected by an iron spiral staircase is the mezzanine with separate spaces for a library, office, and a second bedroom. Three terraces open up to views of the rooftops of the converted factory buildings of Islands Brygge where yet another one of Copenhagen’s successful urban regeneration projects is unfolding.
Vipp calls the Loft a curated design experience but even if you cook at the Vipp kitchen counter, eat from Vipp plates, drink from Vipp glassware, dine under Vipp lamps, or wash up after in the Vipp equipped bathroom, the space never feels like a showroom for the company, but rather, more like a deep dive into Danish design and culture. Alongside Vipp products are iconic furniture pieces by Danish legends such as Finn Juhl, which together with the interior design of Studio David Thulstrup, combine to create an authentic Danish home experience — of Lykkeand Hygge, if you will.
The open plan, for example, serves to remove literal barriers in the home and create common spaces where guests can gather around. If that’s not enough to create the warm and fuzzy feelings used to describe Hygge, the hotel provides some extra coziness with carpets, pillows, and throws along with several candles and lamps to reproduce the soft and warm glow of an outdoor campfire — or an indoor fireplace — which, naturally, the Loft also has. And no matter how large or small a Danish home is, you’ll always find space for a Hyggekrog— a cozy corner to curl up with a coffee or book. I counted at least seven such Hyggekrogs in the Vipp Loft alone.
Nature is another essential ingredient of Hyggeand the aim of Danish architecture and interior design is to bring as much of the outdoors inside. During the day, large vertical windows allow the Vipp Loft to be illuminated with natural light – a rarity in Scandinavia, while an abundance of potted ferns distributed throughout the space helps to recreate the greenery of the city’s parks when the weather forces guests indoors. Natural materials and objects made of ceramics, untreated wood, and glass, likewise simulate the touch and feel of the outdoors inside the hotel room.
Anyone interested in experiencing Hygge the way Vipp interprets this unique Danish concept can book the Loft for 1,000 euro per night for a maximum of four adults. There isn’t any restaurant within the property or room service offered, but guests are encouraged to cook meals in the Vipp-equipped kitchen and enjoy free champagne from the chiller. Breakfast is available at a choice of two charming neighborhood bakery-cafes which are both a short stroll or bike ride from the hotel.
The Vipp Loft is an unconventional concept for a hotel, indeed, but a thoroughly satisfying way to experience Lykke – happiness, and Hygge – coziness, in what global surveys consistently rate as among the the best places to live on the plant.
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The Wulff & Konstali Food Shop around the corner from the Vipp Hotel where guests can enjoy an organic breakfast.
The Vipp Loft’s library on the mezzanine recreates the Hyggekrogfound in most Danish homes — a quiet corner to curl up with a book or cup of coffee.
Copenhagen harbor’s waterfront where the neighborhood of Islands Brygge is located. The former industrial district is another successful urban renewal project unfolding in the city.
Lamps throughout the Loft create soothing pools of light – and essential ingredient of Hygge.Danes associate the warm temperature of light (below 5500k, ideally) with coziness.
The architects of Studio David Thulstrup generate Hygge, the Danish term for a cozy atmosphere or soothing environment, by creating communal spaces such as a light-filled lounge for guests to gather around the table for intimate conversation.
There is no restaurant or room service at the Vipp Loft but guests are encouraged to cook meals in the Vipp-equipped kitchen. The waste bin on the foreground is one of Vipp’s most popular products.
Breakfast is served at a choice of two charming neighborhood cafes a short stroll or bike ride away from the hotel.
The vaulted ceiling of what used to be a printing factory in the industrial district of Islands Brygge. The upper section of the building was converted to make space for a mezzanine and walkway that leads guests to the library and bedroom.
(left) Works by Copenhagen-based artists borrowed from galleries in the neighborhood are displayed at the Vipp Loft alongside the creations of Vipp and other Danish designers. (right) A stay at the Vipp Loft is described as a curated design experience where guests live amidst the products designed by Vipp and other Danish design firms.
The Vipp Loft
Snorresgade 22, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
+45 4588 8800