Innovating Comfort Since 1926
Almost a century after its inception, Swedish bedmaker DUX continues to deliver comfort through a marriage of craftsmanship and innovation.
Words: Ben Thomas, Sleeper Magazine
When Swedish chocolatier Efraim Ljung travelled to Chicago for a business trip in 1924, little did he know that after returning to Malmö, his focus would soon shift from confectionery to a bedmaking business, now run by his four great-grandchildren.
As the story goes, Ljung – who suffered from rheumatism and often had problems sleeping – woke up feeling invigorated after a tranquil night’s rest at his Chicago hotel, and overcome by curiosity, used a penknife to cut open the mattress and see what was inside. The answer was a network of flexible steel springs, and while Ljung carefully sewed the fabric back together, the memory stuck vividly in his mind.
From that moment on, his attention shifted from chocolate to mattresses, and he began experimenting with steel springs of varying strengths and elasticity. Two years later came the first-ever DUX bed, with an innovative spring system that reacted to pressure and weight through thousands of interlocking coils. The same comfort-driven approach was later applied to furniture, with Ljung’s son Erik bringing the designs of fellow Swede Bruno Mathsson to life during the 1960s and 70s. Amongst the pieces produced, the Jetson and Pernilla 69 remain in the collection today, channelling a distinctly Scandinavian style.
Since then, the family has continued Efraim’s philosophy, building on his ideas to develop products that deliver comfort, performance and longevity. “The core vision has always been to produce the very best in comfort and craftsmanship,” says fourth generation CEO Henrik Ljung on a tour of the brand’s factory in Sösdala, where a small team of artisans are busy handcrafting chairs and tables for hospitality and retail clients worldwide. “We are proud of our age-old methods,” Ljung continues. “However, this does not mean that we are disregarding new technologies, far from it.”
Technology plays a greater role in Porto, where DUX has been manufacturing beds and upholstery for over 30 years, using CAD software and CNC cutting machines as well as snipping large amounts of fabric by hand. This combination of heritage and innovation has led to the launch of industry-firsts like a replaceable top pad and the Pascal system, comprising interchangeable spring cassettes that enable a bed’s firmness to be adjusted as required. Named after French mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal, the patented system sees springs arranged to suit the body’s three comfort zones – shoulders, hips and legs – with each customisable using a soft, medium, firm or extra-firm cassette. For hotels, this not only means beds can be tailored to individual guests, but also prolongs their life should the springs become worn or start to sag, with only part of the system replaced rather than the entire mattress. “We have evolved our offer to meet changing customer needs,” Ljung explains. “Today, we are focusing more on sustainability and protecting the environment.”
The component-based nature of DUX products, together with the materials used to craft them, feeds into this notion of preserving the planet through the creation of a product that stands the test of time. The bed bases, for instance, are constructed with timber harvested from northern Sweden, where bitter cold winters produce a slow growth, hardwearing pine, while Swedish steel, hevea latex and high thread-count cotton is used for the continuous-coil, filling and upholstery of its mattresses.
Such credentials, in addition to the level of comfort and personalisation offered across the DUX range – from the low-profile DUX 1001 to the luxurious DUX Xclusive with its additional lumbar support adjustment – has seen the company work on prestigious hotel projects including Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Grand Hôtel Stockholm, as well as boutique properties like The Audo in Copenhagen and Pater Noster in its native Sweden, where guests can drift off under the stars in a bespoke outdoor bed.
“The hotel sector is extremely important to us and we’re proud of our collaborations,” says Head of Next Gen Kevin Slade, who reveals that 14 years ago, the group even opened its own hotel in Malmö to gain a better understanding of what it means to be an operator. Today, The DUXIANA acts as an incubator for ideas, honouring the past while teasing products of the future, some of which will be unveiled in issue 106. Stay tuned.
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