With the current wellness obsession at its zenith, there’s never been a better time to be an expert in good quality sleep. And today (22 March 2022), Swedish bed brand Hästens celebrates 170 years of dreaming big. You may recognise the signature blue check print from that episode of Emily in Paris or recall Canadian rapper Drake pointing out his Ferris Rafauli-designed ‘Grand Vividus’ bed during a house tour, but you may not know much more about the rich history of this family firm. Let’s change that…
From its most recent launch, the ‘Drēmər’ (or Dreamer), to the original mattresses created by master saddler Pehr Adolf Jansen back in 1852 (at the time, saddle and mattress making went hand in hand), Hästens beds have been hand-crafted using only natural materials – think flax, cotton, wool and horse tail hair. Sustainable and non-toxic, these materials go hand in hand with sleep: horsehair is hypoallergenic, with its natural coils creating ventilation, while cotton is lauded for its breathability, and wool its temperature control.
It was Pehr Adolf Janson’s son Per Thure, and later his grandson David, who shook up the saddlery business, wisely zeroing in on bed making as the arrival of the automobile began to reduce the demand for travel by horse. In 1917, Hästens (which translates to ‘horses’ in Swedish) was born, complete with an equine logo referencing not only its roots, but its primary material.
The Jansons invested in their own horsehair mill and grew slowly and steadily over the subsequent years, becoming a household name in Sweden with its beds sold at leading department store Nordiska Kompaniet. By the time of its centenary in 1952, Hästens had earned its official title as purveyor to the royal court of Sweden.
The brands’ status as an icon among beds, however, came much later, thanks to the marketing genius of Jack Ryde, who ran the company with his wife Solveig Janson from 1963 – in the late 1970s, he developed the classic azure and white ‘Blue Check’ pattern, making a Hästens bed instantly recognisable.
Now in its fifth generation, with CEO Jan Ryde at the reins since 1988, the brand continues to capitalise on its traditional methods and cult status – its iconic ‘Vividus’ bed takes up to 360 hours to make . Visit the ‘Dreamfactory’ headquarters in Köping, a 1940s modernist masterpiece designed by British architect Ralph Erskine, and the gentle sound of hand sewing and production is much the same as it has been for decades.
Under Ryde, the company has reached an international audience and branched into bed linen, pillows and sleep accessories. The idea behind Hästen’s ‘Drēmər’ bed, the company’s anniversary celebration, is that a good night’s sleep can mean that you wake with the energy and enthusiasm to fulfil your dreams. We think where this company is now, after 170 years of innovation, would surpass its original owners wildest ones. hastens.com