A visit to Sweden certainly stimulates all the design senses. Yes, the architecture in Stockholm is divine. The stores and showrooms display furniture and lighting, objects and accessories created by icons of our industry, and they are fabulous. However, it is the ubiquitous bed and a quest for the best that piques my interest and ultimately brings me to this beautiful Scandinavian country.
Not just any bed of course, it is a
While a Hästens bed is expensive, very expensive, each is handmade by artisans and, in some cases, takes months to complete. For some models there is a six-month waiting list and months of back orders for all, but as the pinnacle of ‘sleep making’, a Hästens is worth the wait.
Hästens as a company was founded some 170 years ago in Sweden, in 1852 and was created by a man of vision. As a master saddler certified by the King of Sweden, Pehr Adolf made saddles and beds, as was the custom of the day. Now in 2023, Jan Ryde is CEO of this family-run business and the fifth generation to take the helm and, through his determination and vision, he has made Hästens a global juggernaut of the bedding industry.
Jan Ryde is a passionate man – about life, his business and his beds. Initially he did not want to join the family business, preferring life teaching at university, but he fell in love with a beautiful girl on the factory floor and this brought him back to the fold. They married and he then channelled his energy to developing the Hästens brand and changing the fortunes of a company that was languishing at the time.
The visual hallmark of a Hästens bed is the blue and white check introduced by Ryde in 1988. It’s a stand-out and the pattern has become synonymous with the brand and a statement in itself.
While the outer covering of the mattress and frame are striking, the real innovation is inside where layers of horsehair provide breathable support. Each strand of curled horsehair acts as a tiny spring working in tandem with the internal spring system. As horsehair is a hollow strand, it acts as a ventilation system that channels away moisture and allows in fresh air. This means that moisture is not retained and a better night’s sleep is assured. Of course, the process for treating the horsehair is a secret but it is this that makes all the difference.
While horsehair is at the very centre of a Hästens design, other natural materials are also employed such as cotton, wool, flax and pine. There are also various spring systems that are perfectly placed in quantity, combination, height and dimension. As the body has been explored and investigated to be supported and cocooned, so too have the various models of Hästens’ beds been developed, refined and refined again for optimum comfort.
With a manufacturing factory in Köping (pronounced Sherping), a small town some 150 kilometres from Stockholm, each bed is made by hand and the artisan is integral to the making process. The factory floor is a serene place where makers take their time to achieve best results and it is quality not so much quantity of product produced that really matters.
The top-of-the line model, the Grand Vividus, includes precious materials such as dried stingray skin and is customised in every respect, and at approximately $900,000 is only for a very few. However, entry level models are more affordably priced and within the realm of purchase. Prospective buyers are urged to try each model and return time and again to the showroom until the correct bed is found for them.
Jan Ryde has turned the fortunes of this family-owned company around and today Hästens can be bought in 45 countries throughout Europe, Asia and America. This year Hästens has arrived in Australia, through Great Dane, and the prospect for those wanting a great night’s sleep are definitely on the rise.
While these beds are expensive it’s worth thinking about something that Ryde says: that we spend large amounts of money on our cars but that we spend more time in our beds, which is of course true and food for thought. In fact, Ryde has much to say about sleep, beds and running a business and has written a book, When Business Is Love, to be published this year that outlines his ideas and the rise of the Hästens brand.
So now there is the opportunity to touch, see and feel a Hästens bed. It’s an investment but then, with health uppermost in our minds these days, it’s worth it. And the blue and white check is sensational, sheets, doona covers and pillowcases are available in the pattern as well. Sleep just became the new frontier in the quest for wellness and Hästens is certainly leading the way.
Great Dane Furniture
Courtesy of Hästens
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