Since 1852, Hästens has been creating luxury beds for the world of dreamers. Just over an hour outside of Stockholm is its Köping headquarters, where employees work in the two-story atelier to create approximately 17,000 beds a year by hand. While all made-to-order mattresses are created uniquely and equally, there is one model that stands apart from the rest—the Grand Vividus.
This specific bed takes approximately nine people over 320 hours to make. (The lead craftsman at the atelier has been crafting these beds for over 30 years, and still sleeps on the very first one ever made.) Today, Hästens is celebrating a new chapter in its contemporary design storybook with the Grand Vividus by collaborating with Canadian architectural and interior designer Ferris Rafauli.
Known for his innovative and luxurious residential projects—for elite clients like musician Drake, who now sleeps on this new Hästens x Ferris Rafauli bed—the designer is bringing a bit of bling to the Swedish brand. By integrating its fine leather and polished wood with suede and brass adornments, the new design marries quality materials and timeless design for uncompromised craftsmanship and an art of sleeping that will last a lifetime.
Whitewall spoke with Rafauli to hear more about the new Grand Vividus design, what’s seen in his personal home, and why high design is never compromised in any of his projects.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us a bit about your background as a designer leading up to today?
FERRIS RAFAULI: From my childhood to date I have always followed my passion for design and art. For the past 20 years of my professional life my focus has been on mastering the art and science of designing and building architecture, interiors, furniture and all elements of the dwelling with the philosophy of providing complete integration from the exterior to the interior. Every element of the design is connected and integrated to each other achieving a harmonious and high level of visual unity.
WW: Tell us a bit about how your relationship with Hästens began.
FR: I have been incorporating the Hästens bed for years into the bedrooms of the dwellings that I design for my clientele. Hästens is known for creating the finest beds in the world. It was an authentic marriage to bring the finest quality of sleep and transforming it into an art piece for the bedroom.
WW: Tell us a bit about your design for the Grand Vividus bed.
FR: Before I began designing the Grand Vividus I took a deep dive into the lineage and heritage of the Hästens brand. I felt it was a responsibility of mine to do so given the rich history that began since 1852. I took inspiration from the Hästens’ heritage of saddle making and mater craftsmanship. I often take inspiration from the past when developing designs of our time and for the future. The Grand Vividus bed is more than just a bed. It is an artistic statement that will be the center point in each bedroom that it graces.
The design process involved looking, touching and feeling different types of fabrics and materials that relate back to saddle making and the trunk building era. The use of embossed new buck suede leathers veg tan leather detailing, bronze accents and hardware throughout recalls the Hästens’ heritage while the Shagreen leather handles and detailing adds a splash of couture resulting in a timeless artistic center piece for the bedroom. Gone are the days of hiding the bed base with typical side rails and foot boards.
WW: We took a trip to Sweden with Hästens to the brand’s headquarters to see how the beds were made, and witnessed a true type of handcraft. Tell us a bit about your idea of preserving this type of craft, and how you do this in your practice.
FR: To see the passion in the Hästens factory, from the people at the front of the office to the people hand stitching beds on the factory floor was inspirational. You can feel the passion in the air and see the excellence on factory floor. This is a very special product that is hand built to excellence by people that truly care about quality and being the very best that they can be everyday at what they do.
I am a believer of an equal balance of substance and design. There is a feeling of authenticity to a handcrafted product versus a machine made product. Almost all of the furniture I design for my dwellings are handcraft and hand stitched using the finest materials in the world—everything from sofas to case goods such as the dining room tables and coffee table that I design are all handcrafted under my collection. You can never substitute the authenticity of a truly handmade product to one made by machines.
WW: How do you feel Hästens as a brand excels in this, too?
FR: Hästens exemplifies the art of handcrafting. Their company was built on handcrafting when they would stitch leather for the saddles they use to make over 168 years ago. Today Hästens continue to take that same craftmanship with the beds that they make. They have preserved this craftsmanship for over 168 years. They have kept it alive over 6 generations which is a beautiful thing and not typical in today’s modern times.
WW: Tell us a bit about your general design approach. What is a common goal, regardless of project?
FR: I always resort back to my core beliefs of what luxury truly is. It is not about flash, how much money you spend or size. I am a firm believer that to achieve true luxury you need to have a perfect balance of real substance, quality materials combined with high design. There are necessary ingredients to creating a truly luxury product.
WW: What is never compromised?
FR: Creativity and substance married with strict discipline to proper scale, proportions and timeless architectural design cross pollinating with the lifestyle of the particular client in mind is a formula that cannot compromised.
WW: What is your favorite part of the projects that you complete?
FR: There is no better high than seeing than seeing my designs come to realization from concept to completion. Seeing the emotional response of an overjoyed client make it all worth it.
WW: What makes a Ferris Rafauli-designed residential project unique?
FR: I do not design just the dwelling. My focus is on the complete integration of the dwelling from the exterior to the interior, every element of the design is connected to create one complete work of art.
WW: Some architects always keep certain things in mind when designing a project. Recently, a thread has been technology and sustainability—whether it’s implementing it into the project or designing with it embedded in the project’s DNA. Are there any examples of this in your work?
FR: Handcrafted products are a big part of the execution of my designs Work done by hand takes less energy than a mass production assembly line or the strict use of machinery, which makes it more environmentally sustainable. I use technology such as 3D renderings and 3D models to help demonstrate my creations before they are built. I am always advancing the medium to communicate the creative thoughts and designs in my head.
WW: Tell us a bit about your home. What’s inside? Do you have a relationship with art or design objects?
FR: My home is an artistic statement. It is a representation of who I am and how I live. Every element and layer is a work of art that inspires me—from the marble and bronze inlay floor; to the bronze metal screens; to fluted marble walls; to fabric suede walls; to skylights and large oversized glass walls to let the natural light and landscape in. It is all set within a modernized classic form and is a true reflection of myself. Nothing is purchased from a catalogue. From the hardware, to the lighting to the furniture, drapery and rugs it is all tailored to the space and realized through hand-craftsmanship. It is not a house, it is not a property, it is art.
WW: You have a love for the finer things in life. Tell us a bit about a few of those.
FR: Good design is good design. Whether it is a handbag, scarf, shoes or a car—being a designer specializing in special I have a great appreciation for all things of high design. For example the curves on the exterior of an exotic car or the stitching and luxury detailing found inside that same car are all things that I appreciate as I can relate to what it take to design and realize such products.
WW: What do you feel is luxury today?
FR: Luxury to me is striving to create the very best in high design and executing it at the highest level of craftsmanship to see the intended design through and then never being satisfied as its creator. Luxury cannot be only about design or only about craftsmanship—the two are integrated. Luxury is also about comfort. It is a sanctuary and a place to call home that integrates with the lifestyle needs of the client. Each person’s lifestyle is different but equally important. As such there are multiple definition of luxury that varies from person to person.