New York designer Todd Bracher taught us with his Das Haus creation this year at IMM that one of the three major necessities for living is rest and relaxation. Although his point highlighted the space itself and not so much furniture, a lot can be said about textiles, materials and composition to make the most comfortable and sustainable beds, sofas and lounge chairs.
Good sleep and relaxation makes all the difference, and each individual’s needs vary according to his or her specificities. Designers and manufacturers work together to develop an assortment of beds that offer different heights, with varying levels of mattress thickness, size and type, whether box spring beds, waterbeds, futons. The same goes for seating options; brands and their designers go above and beyond to produce soft seating. As consumer behavior changes, the sofa and armchair transform into a sleep surface.
“Our in-house designers study consumer behaviors in regards to furniture and we make advancements accordingly,” Børge Heggen Johansen, CSR manager at furniture brand Ekornes’ Norway headquarter, told ArchiExpo e-Magazine.
At this year’s international interiors trade fair IMM in Cologne, companies focused on putting forward the subject of combining sustainability and comfort.
Your Bed, Your World
Within the Sleep segment was the sustainability-centered Recycling Lounge, illustrating the current state of the bedroom while offering answers to issues that are relevant to society. The Lounge, a creation developed through collaboration between Koelnmesse and the American organization ISPA (International Sleep Products Association), featured the latest ideas behind mattress recycling.
Learn more from ISPA and the latest ideas here.
Beyond recycling and upcycling, manufacturers dig deeper into creating both sustainable and comfortable products. “The one doesn’t exclude the other. This means, sustainable beds can be comfortable too and also the other way around,” Gerhard Vorraber, executive manager at ADA AUSTRIA, told ArchiExpo e-MAgazine.
Vorraber explains the crucial point regarding comfort is the user’s specific needs; however, when discussing materials, differences between the various options do play a role. “As for spring mattresses, the use of pocket springs instead of bonnell springs results in more comfort when sleeping. Also, the higher number of springs, the greater the support and lying comfort.”
Mattresses with a natural rubber core belong to the most sustainable mattress models available on the market.
Cold foam, according to Vorraber, is also getting more and more sustainable. He points to the Birkenstock cold foam mattress, made from newly developed cold foam with a high proportion of natural castor oil. “Due to this special combination, this cold foam has an improved ecological footprint in contrast to conventional cold foam. What’s more, the wood, which is used for our beds and sleep systems, exclusively comes from sustainable forestry.”
As of this year the shoe manufacturer Birkenstock, inventor of the footbed, has officially expanded its product range with sleep systems. In partnership with Austria’s largest upholstered furniture manufacturer ADA AUSTRIA, known for following the trend towards natural materials and healthy living, Birkenstock developed feel-good sleep systems made using a mixture of granulated cork and natural latex. Presented for the first time ever during IMM, the new sleep systems include mattresses, slatted frames and six styles of beds.
“What is comfortable for one person, though, need not necessarily be good for another. Consequently, I am critical of one-fits-all solutions, for example regarding mattresses, and convinced that furniture must be selected according to personal requirements.”
In honor of personal requirements: a number of companies debuted at the trade fair, including Perzona International, Ecus Sleep, Boydak and Toom Tekstiil. Also debuting at the fair, Ersan Madeni designs mattresses to hug. The Loft and Vogue, for example, illustrate exquisite stitching and soft surfaces. Companies such as Centa Star and Shogazi exhibited for the first time at IMM. Shogazi has been specializing in healthy sleep since 2002, using natural materials for its products.
Check out what manufacturers and designers are up to via ArchiExpo with a variety of bed options here. Be inspired for your next product design or interior design project.
Resting “In” the Sofa, not “On”
Many brands aim to create comfortable and long-lasting seating products, always running after the next best composition of foam layering and frame thickness. At Ekornes a combination of well-seasoned and fresh-off-the-market engineers, designers and craftsmen work side-by-side to develop its products, offering the best of both worlds. They understand that “comfort comes from the inside” and focus on technical solutions.
“You need the right balance between softness and support, a sturdy frame and the right composition of foam layers with a special focus on the thigh, neck and lower back areas,” Børge Heggen Johansen told ArchiExpo e-Magazine. “Our goal is to create furniture that people sit in, not on. We want them to sink into it.”
The company currently puts emphasis on leather with an increasing interest in fabric for its products exterior, and laminated wood, steel and aluminum for the frame. Ekornes works closely with its suppliers to see how far they can stretch a material for improvement, in order to achieve a more sustainable material. “They’re rewarded by creating an innovative material and we get a more sustainable product. Everyone’s happy.”
At IMM this year Ekornes exhibited a number of new products, notably its leg comfort system released for the first time. It offers more possibilities to expand the foot rest. “When you pop it out, you can also adjust it laterally. It differentiates us from our competitors because it’s the first time a leg rest can be adjusted to this extent. It fits people of all heights.”
While the company follows all developments in the various material industries, it’s also involved in the Circular Economy Group and the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC). Along with other furniture manufacturers and foam suppliers, assessments are made to find the best practice for creating a low product life cycle.
Build it in a way to make it last.
In addition to Ekornes, visitors at IMM delighted in seeing products from furniture manufacturers such as Belgian company Passe Partout, Austrian brand Joka, Scandinavian company Vilmers, Polish brand Burhéns and Italian company Primavera.