The products registered by The Vegan Society with its Vegan Trademark – a total of 15,206 in 2020 – include cosmetics, cleaning products and clothing. And now a new bed by Savoir has also received this animal-friendly stamp of approval. Called No4V, The Reformer (a king-sized bed set with box spring, mattress and topper, priced from £16,705), it’s claimed to be the first luxury vegan bed.

“We were getting more and more requests for bespoke vegan versions of our beds,” says Alistair Hughes, managing director of Savoir Beds, who took the helm at the historic bedmaker in 1997. “At the same time, I was beginning to look at what I eat and the environmental impact of animal-based products, and realised that we really needed to do something at Savoir.” The brand, which grew out of a commission for the Savoy Hotel in 1905, is known for traditional craftsmanship: it makes fewer than 1,000 beds each year across its two “bedworks” in west London and Wales, and uses all-natural, chemical-free materials in production. 

“In a normal Savoir bed we have wool and horsehair; they do a fantastic job in terms of breathability but they are animal-based,” says Hughes. “The vegan alternatives to wool, for example, are often highly synthetic, made using petrochemicals and therefore bad for our environment. So for us, using, say, foam would have been a step backwards. That put us on a path of looking for plant-based alternatives that could mimic the qualities of our traditional materials.”

The mattress is on a box-spring base with plant-based fabrics used for the upholstery finish
The mattress is on a box-spring base with plant-based fabrics used for the upholstery finish

What Hughes and his team came up with is a combination of organic cotton and flax, bamboo and Tampico – a fibre made from the Agave lechuguilla, a plant unique to the semi-desert areas of northern Mexico. “Both bamboo and Tampico wick moisture and regulate temperature, mimicking what we love about horsetail,” he says. “We actually settled upon those main ingredients pretty quickly. But of course, we then realised that the devil is in the details.”

Drilling down into the supply chain, looking at every detail of the beds from screws (which can be lubricated with glycerin-based substances) to wood glue, uncovered a number of grey areas. “When you ask, ‘Can you tell us exactly what’s in it?’ you begin to realise you can’t get answers,” Hughes explains. “We’re essentially a small supplier, so it was a case of ‘If you don’t want our screws, don’t buy them’ – simple as that. We had to find alternatives.” When Savoir couldn’t find a glue that was guaranteed to be animal-product-free, for example, it made its own.

Savoir No4V, The Reformer king-sized bed set with box spring, mattress and topper,  from £16,705
Savoir No4V, The Reformer king-sized bed set with box spring, mattress and topper, from £16,705

But what can the brand’s customers expect from the experience of the new bed? “It does have a slightly different feel, there’s no question about it,” says Hughes of the mattress, which is on the firmer side. “But for some, this might be the most comfortable they’ve ever tried.”

Like Savoir’s other beds, this design is guaranteed for 10 years as a mattress on a box-spring base. The bamboo-based topper should be changed every five to seven years – in line with the horsehair versions – while a range of plant-based fabrics, such as sea-green organic linen by de Le Cuona, are used for the bespoke upholstery finishes. 

But the brand is not stopping at one bed – it is introducing vegan bedding to its range of accessories, bringing with them greater traceability and transparency, and will continue to explore plant-based materials. “My view is that we should all be consuming fewer animal products,” says Hughes. “But then, I just bought a pair of leather RM Williams, so I’m not about to stop making horsetail beds just yet.” 

Savoir Beds Savoir No4V, The Reformer, from £16,705

Get alerts on Interiors when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article