UK, London. This year has seen a number of developments for UK-based Savoir Beds, which opened its first company-owned showroom in Paris in June 2015. The luxury bed specialist continues to grow its international presence with a total of 11 showrooms worldwide, and plans to open two more dealerships in Asia this autumn, adding to existing showrooms in Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei.
"France has been a good market for us over the last five or six years, and we felt that the time was right to open our own showroom as opposed to operating through branded dealers,” says co-owner and managing director of Savoir Beds Alistair Hughes. “So, when the opportunity arose, we had no hesitation in investing heavily in this stunning showroom.”
Savoir Beds was first created for The Savoy Hotel in 1905, where the likes Sir Winston Churchill, Giacomo Puccini and Marilyn Monroe were given the opportunity to enjoy the company’s hand-made beds. Savoir Beds, which took new ownership in 1997, still supplies to the famous hotel but the majority of its business comes from individual clients.
“Hotels are a relatively small sector for us,” says Hughes. “What we do is bespoke and what we produce reflects this. Along with the Savoy, we supply to six or seven London hotels, however, this is not our main area of business. Most of our work comes from clients, either directly or through their designer.”
(image by Andrew Johansson)
Savoir Beds offer four main models, which it refers to by number. The top of the range is No1, which features taller springs and premium quality natural fillings and takes a minimum 120 hours to make. This is followed by No2, which was first commissioned for The Savoy Hotel over a century ago. Taking 80 hours to produce, this model was a favourite for the late Kin Hassan of Morocco.
Both models are produced in the company’s London facilities and made by hand. While one side of the mattress is machined, the remaining three sides of the mattress are stitched closed by hand to make it possible to adjust the level of comfort once the mattress has been finished. Clients have six months from the point of delivery to request a change if they have chosen the wrong level of support at no extra cost with the exception of transport fees. It also makes it possible to restore older mattresses should a client want new or different filling, which can be significantly cheaper than buying a new mattress of the same model. Even so, the manufacturer states that the No1 and No2 have a life of 20 - 25 years.
Models No3 and No4 are produced in the company’s Welsh bedworks and are also made to measure and hand-built. However, unlike the other two models, these are closed using a Tape Edge machine and require a week to manufacture. Savoir Beds also produce a more budget conscious option for residential guest rooms and hotels called Pinnacle Beds, which is also manufactured at its Welsh bedworks.
However, it is the company’s willingness to explore new materials and methods that have allowed it to take on a wide degree of custom projects including the Aero and Nicky beds. The former of which saw a headboard made from the wing of an aircraft, with the latter featuring a gilded lip at the top of the headboard.
“We’re a bespoke manufacturer so anything can be done but it comes down to price and we are good at getting a ballpark figure for a project quickly,” says Hughes. “We’ve just made a bed worth GBP 175,000 for a client in the south of France who wanted a round rotating bed for his chateau, which is controlled by an iPad and has a fridge in the headboard.”
While the marine sector makes up less than five per cent of the company’s business today, interest is on the rise. “It is an area of the market we see developing and it is growing out of the residential area interestingly,” says Hughes. “The push is coming from clients who have our beds at home and want the same level of comfort on their yacht.”
Orders from the marine sector to date include Feadship, Heesen, Adam Lay Design and Candy & Candy. In fact yacht sales for Savoir Beds in the first half of this year are more than double that of all sales made to the yachting sector in 2014. With the launch of a new website, showrooms and new partnerships, the team are hopeful to see this trend continue.
The most recent announcement from the bed specialist is a collaboration with Chinese designer, Lv Yongzhong, founder of the Banmoo furniture brand and commissioner of the China International Interior Design Association. It adds to the existing relationships Savoir Beds has with prolific designers such as Mary Fox Linton, Nicky Haslam, and Virginia White.
The 'LV' bed was inspired by the Chinese 'LuoHan' couch — the seat for dignitaries and ancient Chinese masters. The bed frame has been crafted from solid rosewood using traditional Chinese carpentry methods, and features solid brass feet and upholstered using Kvadrat's 'Balder' wool mix fabrics. This respect for traditional Chinese culture, combined with the best of British craftsmanship and comfort, has resulted in a hand-crafted design that unifies both cultures.