The Elite Company, founded in 1895, which head office is in Aubonne, Switzerland, organises, starting on 2018 September 10th, the second edition of « Elite Design Award », rewarding the best creations with the theme: « haute couture bed ».

Elite seeks to support creation and innovation by design by offering designers the opportunity to reflect about furniture and its function in general, namely the base and headboard, items which are at the core of our daily lives. Aesthetics and design have to match with comfort.


Project Summary

Elite seeks to support creation and innovation by design by offering designers the opportunity to reflect about bed frames, namely the base and headboard, items which are at the core of our daily lives. For the second edition, Elite wishes to valorize the theme of Haute Couture bed. Its aim is to revisit traditional codes and innovate in terms of overall experience, aesthetics and design details.

1. Company presentation of Elite

“A simple, vibrant, true story” Elite is part of the craft tradition of Master Upholsterer Jules-Henri Caillet and was created in Yens-sur-Morges in Switzerland in 1895. Initially, the family specialised in upholstery and then went on to gain expertise in mattress manufacturing and build a reputation in the region. With the advent of automated tools, Robert Caillet, the founder’s son, sought to integrate progress within his company by marrying craft and mechanisation. In his view, and indeed that of successive generations, progress was key to the manufacture of a good mattress.

Artisan production offers freedom of choice and the opportunity to use highquality natural materials (Swiss wool, alpaca wall, cashmere, pure tail hair, camel wool, Tussar silk, etc.). Expertise in combining these different materials and rigorous design combine to produce exceptional bedding. “Fine materials for a good night’s sleep” From the outset, the family business was careful to selectonly environmentally friendly, sustainable raw materials. Production, which still takes place in Switzerland, relies on a relationship of trust with partners and expertise and attention to detail by company employees. This leads to ethical, ecological and social responsibility both on the part of partners and customers as on that of its employees.

For the last 12 years, François Pugliese has continued the time-honoured tradition of Elite and its family-oriented, entrepreneurial spirit. The company is keen to mobilise all the resources it needs to develop new business opportunities and its vision is guided by three priorities: consultation; guaranteed quality; and a commitment to innovation.

2. Positioning of Elite

Elite house seeks to forge its own distinctive path and prioritise craftsmanship and wellbeing. It is alert to customer experience and offers bespoke solutions. It strives its utmost to ensure that its products are both sustainable and environmentally friendly.

From consultation to manufacture, Elite’s employees are constantly on hand to meet their customers’ every demand. A job well done, the pursuit of excellence – these are the values that Elite seeks to convey in designing its products. The company is defined not only by its quality guarantees and commitment to innovation internally, but also by its fine, delicate materials and the talents of its craftworkers.

Elite is part of a long tradition of bed making and seeks to advance the design of premium beds. This competition seeks to foster new ideas through the combination of design and traditional craftsmanship.

3. Competition challenges

Beds can be viewed as symbolic objects which have developed over time. In the 17th century, they were objects of great value and it was common practice to receive visitors while lying on one’s bed. They also provided a display area which told stories of power with hunting trophies hanging above. Nowadays, theyare more private and while they are still used as decorative objects of one style or another, they are not deemed sufficiently important within our living spaces.

The purpose of this competition is to rethink beds and their environment as objects designed for current lifestyles, while retaining the essence of authentic traditional craftsmanship. The proposal is intended for private individuals and should tell a story which takes account of the area around the bed (whether it is placed centrally, against a wall, etc.) and the particular experience of its user. The project should describe the distinctive character of the bed both in terms of its use and the quality of its design details much as if it were an item of haute couture and also describe the volumes, materials and assemblies used.

This haute couture angle can also be approached through the expression of a dream or an emotion either consonant with or dissonant from the pace of our always-connected working lives. This object is effectively intrinsic to the experience of waking and sleeping and may gain in importance in daily activities. This object is known for its longevity and could even be viewed as an accessory to its owner’s changing desires. Indeed, it may be distinctive for its very flexibility.

Candidates must propose a bed frame (base and headboard) which fits into its environment. The proposal is designed for private individuals who desire a unique item of furniture. The proposal should take account of the manufacturing constraints contained in the design brief.

You are strongly encouraged to draw on the expertise offered by Elite and its current production methods – cabinetmaking, upholstery and leatherwork. The idea is to fuse imagination with the expertise of high-end cabinetmaking companies which offer remarkable skills in design details.

4. Aims of the competition

  • Show Elite’s expertise
  • Boost creative design in the field of bedding
  • Transform ideas to product
  • Give students and young professionals the opportunity to be exhibited at the Milan Design Week 2019

5. Technical characteristics and constraints (materials, techniques, formal restrictions)

In order to combine style and comfort, the bed base must be a minimum of 10 to 12 cm deep. Elite mattresses are 22 cm to 35 cm deep and we shall work on the basis of a mattress which is 180 cm wide and 200 cm long. These constraints must be adhered to in all proposed solutions.

6. Participation conditions

The Elite Design Award is open to anyone longing to one of the following categories :

  • Graduates from schools of design, architecture, interior design or engineering
  • Practitioners without qualifications, but who can provide evidence of having worked in the areas of design, architecture or interior design
  • Any person wishing to innovate in bedding
  • Individually or in team (2 people max.)

Disqualifications: If more than one project is submitted by team or individually. If the project contains more than 3 pages or less than 3 pages. If the team contains more than 2 persons. If multiple registrations.


A. Registration Process : Registration for the competition will be open from, September 10th to November 1st 2018. Candidates will be given a registration number.

B. Submission deadlines : Projects may be submitted from November 1st to December 10th 2018 (midnight, Geneva time, as recorded by the date and time of the email) to the following address: The registration number is required to submit the project.

7. Competition process

  • September 10th, 2018 : competition launch
  • November 1st, 2018 : deadline for registrations and the issue of registration numbers
  • December 10th, 2018 : project submission (as recorded by the date and time of the email)
  • January 2019 : Selection of the projects by the jury
  • February 2019 : announcement of the winners
  • 09-14 April 2019 : Presentation of projects and awards ceremony at the Milan Design Week 2019.

*The winners will be informed by email. The non-winners participants will be informed via social media only.

8. Selection criteria

The following criteria will be used to assess the proposals :

  • Consistency with the positioning of Elite (craftsmanship, luxury, well-being)
  • Quality of the presentation and narration (clarity)
  • Aesthetic quality of the project
  • Functional quality of the project (use and experience)
  • Technical and functional feasibility
  • Creativity and originality of the response to the theme and specifications.

9. Prizes

  • 1st prize 5’000 CHF
  • 2nd prize 3’000 CHF
  • 3rd prize 2’000 CHF




Total Prize: 5’000 CHF