The growth of design-conscious hotels catering for the young and affluent and the surge of loft living spaces over the past decade means the bed is now a fashion statement. European furniture manufacturers have been quick to catch on, many of them commissioning big names to design the “total bed concept”, including, in many cases, a range of exclusive linen.
The Cassina beds collection, launched in Milan last year, is one example. The company chose its newly designed showroom in the Via Durini to launch a new collection of beds by five international designers. This was a major sortie by the company into the domestic sector, and one that was intended to capture the market. With the line-up of designers – Carlo Forcolini, Josep Llusc, Toshiyuki Kita, Zed and Philippe Starck – there was little doubt that it would.
Starck has designed a family of four beds, each with a different height headboard, and each performing a different function. Soeur Jeanne has an adjustable, padded headboard, while the top of the range, Soeur ThÃ©rÃ¨se, has a 1.78m-high screen-head with glazed sides and a padded backrest – great for a big space. Each model is available in natural beech or cherrywood and comes with two small bedside tables.
Forcolini’s offerings to the Cassina collection are the Ghiro and Ghiretto beds. Each has a detachable lacquered steel frame with height-adjustable legs, available in anthracite grey and dark green. Both head and foot of the beds are lightly padded and covered in fabric which can be removed for cleaning. Ghiro has an additional side structure fitted on to the headboard, which can accommodate a small table, bookshelf, a mirror and drawers, all in cherrywood.
The trend in beds continued at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan. Schopenhauer introduced a new design by Gae Aulenti, and Molteni showed its eco-friendly Dodicesima Notte collection designed by Luca Meda, which is made from flexible multi-layer beechwood, natural padding and untreated fabrics. Outside the fairground, Arradaesse launched a range of “artistic headboards”, each very large and designed to be independent of the bed. The concept behind the collection is that the same headboard can be used with any sized bed, from the British single bed to the American king size. The ten designs on show use a variety of materials from birchwood to rubber to upholstery. The Scoubidou “spaghetti” headboard by Elisa Gargan Giovannoni in metal and PVC, and Sakinah by Joanna Lyle in birch with an upholstered centre panel, are two from the collection.
New from Targa Italia is D-Letto, a modular bed in cherrywood by Piero Esposito. Here you start with the basic version and add the bedhead of your choice, from low to high, quilted to four-poster. D-Letto is offered with a series of linen accessories, including bedcovers, quilts and curtains. The Shinto bed, designed by Piero Lissoni for Porro, continues the modular theme. Again, the low wooden structure has various components that link into it, including an adjustable bedhead, a low bedside table and a bookcase.
From Cattelan Italia comes the strangely-named Sinus bed, designed by Gian Vittorio Plazzogna. Sinus has a lightweight look achieved by the metalwork construction of the headboard. This comes in various colours and finishes, including five matt lacquers, five suede-like colours, and silver. On show recently as part of the Loft2 exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects, it retails from just over 1000 and is available through Atrium.
At London’s recent 100% Design exhibition were two beds designed by Richard Woolf for Liberty Brand Products. The Plank Bed and the Devil Bed were originally designed to launch a new linen collection, but have been put into production as part of a new contemporary range by British designers. Both are manufactured in English workshops from 20-year-old, fully seasoned European red beech, which undoubtedly adds to the price. The Plank Bed costs 4250 and the Devil Bed 3850. And this excludes the mattress. Complementary side tables and a linen bench are also available in the suite.