The Evolution Of Relaxation: Uncovering The Fascinating History Of Stressless Furniture

The Evolution Of Relaxation: Uncovering The Fascinating History Of Stressless Furniture

In our fast-paced lives, finding true relaxation can sometimes feel like a distant dream. The quest for comfort led to the creation of Stressless furniture back in 1971, crafted with Norwegian ingenuity.

This article will delve into how Stressless chairs and sofas revolutionised the way we unwind at home. Discover the journey that redefined lounging – continue reading for a story of innovation and design excellence!

Key Takeaways

  • Stressless furniture originated from the innovative spirit of Jens Ekornes in Sykkylven, Norway, back in 1934. His initial focus was on springs for mattresses and furniture that promoted comfort and durability.
  • The first Stressless chairs in the 1950s were a breakthrough with their revolutionary design that supported every curve of the body. These set the precedent for luxury home furnishings, featuring adjustable systems like Glide™ catering to individual comfort.
  • By introducing advanced technology like robotics into production during the digital era, Stressless became Norway's most automated furniture manufacturer. This allowed them to consistently produce high-quality pieces at scale.
  • As part of modernising furniture functionality, Stressless continued to innovate by integrating sophisticated tech features such as BalanceAdapt™ and Plus™ systems that anticipate user movement for optimal support.
  • Upholding its heritage in Norwegian craftsmanship, Stressless continues to prioritise sustainability alongside creating exquisite designs that make relaxation an essential aspect of contemporary living spaces worldwide.

The Dawn of Stressless Furniture: The Beginning (1934)

Tracing back to the quaint Norwegian town of Sykkylven in 1934, we uncover the roots of stressless furniture where Jens Ekornes embarked on a journey that would redefine comfort and relaxation.

It was here that innovative techniques like incorporating springs into furniture began, paving the way for a new wave of comfort in homes worldwide.

Ekornes inception and early years

In the heart of Norway in 1934, Ekornes made its grand debut. Jens Ellingsen Ekornes was the mastermind behind this venture, starting small with merely three employees and a handful of German-made machines meant for crafting springs.

This humble beginning set the stage for what would become a renowned name in comfort and design.

Their early years were marked by innovation as they honed their craft, initially focusing on perfecting springs that would redefine comfort in furniture and mattresses. By 1946, after an insightful trip to the United States, Ekornes brought back advanced American machinery that propelled them into mass production of spring mattresses.

Their commitment to quality quickly established them as leaders in ergonomic design and paved the way for future successes.

Introduction of springs for furniture and mattresses

Springs started changing the game for furniture comfort back in 1935, thanks to Jens Ekornes. He showcased his innovative spring technology at a major exhibition in Ålesund, setting the scene for a revolutionary leap in both furniture and mattress design.

This breakthrough allowed for enhanced elasticity and support which greatly improved consumer rest and relaxation.

Pioneering this new approach, Ekornes played a crucial role by incorporating springs into their products early on. Their mattresses became known not only for comfort but also for durability, paving the way for what many now recognise as Nordic comfort—a blend of quality materials and thoughtful design that adapts to the user's body contours with ease.

The Revolutionary Period: 1950s to 1960s

During the 1950s to 1960s, a period of groundbreaking change unfolded within the world of furniture. Stressless sprang into action, leading an era marked by revolutionary chair designs that forever transformed our lounging experience.

The launch of the first Stressless chairs

In the 1950s, Stressless furniture took a giant leap forward with the introduction of their first Stressless chairs. These early editions set a new standard for comfort and design in the world of seating.

Crafted with care in Norway, they combined traditional Nordic heritage with innovative technology to create a chair that adjusted effortlessly to support every curve and contour of the body.

The revolutionary concept quickly gained popularity, as it provided unparalleled relaxation and became synonymous with luxury home furnishings.

Ekornes didn't stop at simply creating an ordinary chair; they redefined what it meant to relax at home. Their commitment to quality saw them integrating foamed plastic into their products for added softness without compromising durability or style.

This attention to detail ensured each Stressless chair wasn’t just aesthetically pleasing but was built to last and deliver outstanding comfort day after day, making an indelible mark on interior design trends worldwide.

Expansion and automation of the steel department

The launch of the first Stressless chairs marked a significant shift for Ekornes, leading to the growth and automation of their steel department. New machinery and technologies were brought on board to support the industrial production demands of these innovative designs.

The steel frames became integral components of Stressless furniture, ensuring durability that matched the comfort already synonymous with Ekornes' offerings.

This behind-the-scenes transformation enabled not just higher output but also an unwavering commitment to quality — every piece reflecting Norwegian design's trusted reputation. As production capabilities advanced, the stage was set for 1971's groundbreaking release: a recliner perfectly in tune with body movement and support.

A New Era: The Stressless Story (1971)

1971 marked a significant milestone in the realm of comfort, as Stressless unveiled their groundbreaking recliner designed with dynamic movement and unparalleled support in mind. This year also saw the debut of what would become an iconic fixture in living rooms worldwide: the first genuine TV chair tailored for contemporary lifestyles.

Introduction of the first recliner designed for body movement and support

The first Stressless recliner marked a significant milestone in the history of home furniture. Launched with an aim to merge relaxation and support, this chair transformed how people experienced comfort.

It was tailored for body movement, catering to viewers' needs during the surge of TV's popularity in homes. Its unique design allowed individuals to lean back and adjust their seating position effortlessly, providing unparalleled support and enhancing the customer experience.

This pioneering creation set a new standard for ergonomic seating solutions across the globe. It elegantly combined functionality with aesthetic appeal, embodying the democratic design philosophy that valued both form and function.

As it gained international acclaim, this groundbreaking recliner cemented Stressless as a leader in innovative furniture design and paved the way for future advancements in comfort-oriented furnishings.

The birth of the first real TV chair for modern society

Building on their innovative strides, Stressless unveiled something truly groundbreaking in 1971: a TV chair that was the first of its kind. This wasn't just any ordinary piece of furniture; it featured the patented Glide™-system , meticulously designed to respond seamlessly to your body's movement.

Users found unparalleled comfort while watching television or relaxing, as this chair cleverly adjusted itself to fit every twist and turn.

Crafting comfort for the modern home became Stressless's hallmark with this introduction. It marked a monumental step towards personalising relaxation, integrating thoughtful engineering with an eye for contemporary style.

Every detail aimed to enhance the user's experience – from perfectly placed supports for head and lumbar regions to intuitive controls at one's fingertips. The legacy of this original creation paved the way for future innovations in how we unwind in our living spaces.

The Golden Years: 1970s to 1980s

The 1970s and 1980s marked a shining era for Stressless furniture, with the brand solidifying its reputation for comfort and quality. During these decades, innovative design met cutting-edge technology, setting new benchmarks in the world of luxury seating.

The evolution of Stressless Original

Stressless Original seized the spotlight in 1971, revolutionising home comfort with its patented Glide system. This innovative feature allowed the chair to respond smoothly to body movements, delivering an unprecedented level of ease and support.

As households around Norway welcomed the first Stressless recliners into their living rooms, this groundbreaking concept quickly set a new standard for relaxation furniture.

The years that followed saw Ekornes refine the Stressless design further. The relentless pursuit of perfection led to chairs that not only provided comfort but also showcased sleek Norwegian craftsmanship at its finest.

By embracing cutting-edge technology and prioritising user experience, Stressless Original evolved into more than just a chair—it became a symbol of relaxation innovation. With over half a million satisfied customers by the 1980s, this remarkable furniture piece edged onto the global stage, setting Ekornes on course to win prestigious awards and shape future trends in comfortable seating solutions.

Next came advancements that went beyond individual chairs—ushering in an era of motorised sofas and sophisticated lounge systems that would redefine modern living spaces worldwide.

The rise of sophisticated technology in furniture

Furniture has taken a leap into the future with advanced technology seamlessly integrated into design. The launch of Stressless chairs in the 1970s kickstarted an era where comfort met innovation, and since then, there's been no looking back.

These recliners embraced sophisticated tech like the patented Glide system, allowing for smooth movement that follows your body’s slightest motions.

As technology progressed, Ekornes continued to innovate, introducing systems such as BalanceAdapt and Plus. These features automatically adjust seating positions for unparalleled support and relaxation.

This marriage of craftsmanship with cutting-edge mechanisms has set new standards in furniture making, ensuring every piece is not just stunning to look at but also incredibly smart in its function.

Now, as we transition into embracing digital capabilities even further, let's explore how these advancements have transformed our living spaces over the decades.

Embracing the Digital Age: 1990s to 2000s

As the world zoomed into the digital era of the '90s and 2000s, Stressless furniture took a giant technological leap. They redefined comfort with advanced automation, broadening their horizon with an exciting array of sofas and chairs that promised unparalleled relaxation for every user.

The transformation into Norway's most robotised and automated production business

In 2002, the Stressless factory underwent a groundbreaking change, becoming Norway's leader in automation and robotics. This shift not only set a new standard for manufacturing efficiency but also showcased their forward thinking in adapting to technological advancements.

Robots now glide along the production line with precision, handling tasks that once required manual labour. The integration of these high-tech systems has streamlined operations, ensuring every piece of furniture meets the company's high-quality standards.

From German-made machines to advanced robotics, this transformation reflects Stressless' commitment to innovation. The use of robots has increased speed and accuracy in production while allowing employees to focus on more skilled aspects of craftsmanship.

This evolution is proof that embracing technology can coexist with maintaining tradition and quality in furniture-making—a testament to Norwegian industrial prowess and a democratic outlook towards workplace culture.

Expansion of the product line to include sofas and chairs

As Stressless Furniture mastered automation, attention turned to giving customers more choices. The 1990s marked a significant shift as the company unveiled luxurious Stressless sofas.

These pieces, available in two or three-seat options, catered to different space requirements and comfort preferences. Each sofa embraced the same commitment to quality that made their recliners famous, offering an unparalleled relaxation experience.

With growing demand for versatile furniture solutions, early into the new millennium saw the expansion of Ekornes' facilities by a staggering 30,000 sqm. This growth supported not just increased production but also innovation in design and function.

Chairs joined the product lineup, each echoing Stressless' dedication to superior support and Scandinavian aesthetics. Customers soon enjoyed a wider range of furnishings that promised both style and unmatched ease—the perfect blend for contemporary living spaces.

Modern Times: 2010 to Present

In recent years, Stressless furniture has kept pace with the swift currents of innovation, embodying the spirit of contemporary living while holding fast to its Norwegian heritage.

This chapter in their story sees a seamless blend of design prowess and cutting-edge technology continuing to define comfort for modern consumers.

Continuing innovation and forward thinking

Stressless furniture has made a name for itself by not just keeping pace with the times but actively shaping them. The company's commitment to innovation is evident, with constant upgrades that enhance comfort and functionality.

Patented features have become a hallmark of Stressless recliners, evolving to meet the dynamic needs of consumers worldwide. They're not just crafting seats, they're pioneering new ways for bodies to rest and rejuvenate.

Looking towards the future, Ekornes pushes forward with designs fuelled by natural materials and renewable energy sources. This approach paves the way for sustainability in manufacturing without compromising on style or quality.

Achieving 10 million seats sold marks just one milestone; it also reflects an enduring promise to keep redefining relaxation through smart design choices rooted in Norwegian tradition and craftsmanship.

Their quest for excellence ensures every piece from Stressless David to Stressless Anna offers unparalleled support and luxury.

Upholding the tradition of Norwegian design and craftsmanship

Keeping pace with innovation, Stressless also deeply honours its roots in Norwegian design and craftsmanship. This is a tradition known globally for combining functional beauty with fine materials.

The makers of Stressless furniture carry this heritage forward, crafting pieces that embody the elegance and durability synonymous with Scandinavian artisanship. These are products born from a commitment to quality that has earned Ekornes the title 'Exporter of the Year 2020,' showcasing their dedication not just to style but to excellence in furniture export.

Norwegian design stands out for its simplicity, minimalism, and connection to nature; values that Stressless incorporates into every chair and sofa produced. Expert hands meticulously shape each piece to ensure it meets strict standards before leaving the factory floor—a testament to Norway's long-standing reputation in high-quality manufacturing.

As we move through modern times, maintaining these practices is crucial in upholding both the past and future legacy of such iconic design principles.

The Legacy and Future of Stressless Furniture

Stressless Furniture has carved its name into the annals of design with a tradition that intertwines comfort with Norwegian craftsmanship. Since its inception, the brand has expanded beyond borders, establishing itself firmly on the global market.

The creations from Ekornes have been celebrated for their innovation, receiving accolades such as the Norwegian Export Prize and recognition as 'Exporter of the Year' by leading business organisations.

Looking ahead, Stressless Furniture pledges to preserve its heritage while evolving with contemporary needs. The company's commitment to sustainability is evident in initiatives like circular design and an expanding product line tailored for ergonomics and environmental consciousness.

With every piece of furniture crafted to redefine relaxation, Stressless continues to shape how people rest and rejuvenate within their homes.


As we've journeyed through the remarkable evolution of Stressless furniture, it's clear that innovation and quality have been at the heart of this brand's story. From a small Norwegian factory to a name celebrated worldwide, Ekornes has crafted comfort into an art form.

Each chair and sofa tells a tale of meticulous design meeting human needs. The legacy they've built stands not just on what they've achieved but also on their vision for tomorrow—creating spaces where relaxation and sustainability go hand in hand.

This history isn't just about furniture; it's about how we live our lives—with ease, style, and consciousness.


1. What marks the beginning of Stressless furniture's history?

The journey begins with J.E. Ekornes Fjærfabrikk, established in 1934, laying the foundation for what would later become world-renowned as producers of Stressless design online and Svane mattresses.

2. How did Stressless furniture revolutionise relaxation?

Stressless furniture introduced innovations such as upholstered spring mattresses and ergonomic designs, like the Kiddo child chair and comfortable sofa beds, transforming how we experience comfort at home.

3. Has Stressless furniture ever faced economic challenges?

Indeed, while navigating through its history there have been ups and downs; at one point facing bankruptcy but resiliently overcoming it to become a staple on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

4. What impact has e-commerce had on Stressless brands?

Ecommerce has propelled Stressless brands into new markets with effective advertising strategies, adjusting price points to appeal to a broader audience without sacrificing quality or comfort.

5. Are there any important financial milestones in the company's evolution?

Throughout its existence on the stock exchange, significant events such as mergers and dividends announcements have marked financial turning points for this esteemed name in relaxation architecture.

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