Lessons learned from creating a bed through modular design, with circularity integrated
Entrepreneur Patrik Sandhu Wilén’s view on his industry, after many sleepless nights before launching: ”We usually find solutions when we really have to.”
22 May 2024

The key concept for new Swedish bed company Videung is circularity and modularity. When founder and CEO Patrik Sandhu Wilén run a bed store, he was disposing his clients’ old beds — and threw away vast amount of valuable materials. Making them in a different way comes with its difficulties.

— The challenge is how traditionally built beds are constructed; they are glued, stapled, and consist of so many different materials that are not recyclable. And even if they were, it is not possible to recycle due to the product design, he says, continuing,

— The parts of the Videung bed are divided based on life span. This way all materials in our bed can fulfill their lifespan, be recycled, and become new products, similar to how our cells are replaced while we, the organism, keeps on living.

— Using recycled materials in products is not always optimal from a sustainability point of view. Keeping the material in an existing and functional loop might be better than putting the material in a bed that do not get recycled after usage. Materials need to be produced from more sustainable resources and also be able to be recycled. But ’being able’ is not enough — the product design must also enable this and services to recycle these materials must be available. We need to stop filling up our landfills.

Can you take us through the bed and how you’ve worked with circular principles?

— Starting from the bottom up of the Videung bed: 

— Our 3D printed legs are made from recycled material that otherwise goes to waste and can be 100% recycled by us after usage. Our clean wooden frame can outlive us all and due to the design, it will last for generations. If for some reason it needs to be disposed of it can be recycled as pure wood, just by detaching the velcro that is put underneath. The core of our mattress is produced of 100% natural rubber, it keeps its comfort level for 10-20 years and we will provide the service to send it back to the factory for recycling after usage. The detachable upholstery cover is also important for circular purposes and we use a recycled design weave. Lastly, the topper cover is also detachable from the core so that it may be changed when needed with having to dispose of the mattress material. 

— Our legs, frame, and mattress core are fully recyclable and can truly be recycled due to our product design. In the bed industry, there’s often talk about using recyclable materials in products without ensuring that they can actually be recycled after use. We aim to challenge this common practice. 

— The main challenge lies in achieving a sensitive balance between comfort, design, and our circular approach. It might be easier to create a sustainable bed that sacrifices comfort or aesthetics. However, that would defeat the purpose of having a bed altogether.


”We usually find solutions when we really have to”

I assume that you forecast more circularity in your sector.

— Yes, definitely. A lot of demands are put on material producers at the moment and more is to come. If the industry does not solve these issues I guess there will not be foams in 10 years time. But we usually find solutions when we really have to. 

What’s required to increase it?

— I think it’s a blend of industry regulations, consumer demands, and emerging value systems. Producers play a crucial role in making sustainable choices more accessible, while consumers must actively seek them out. It’s in our collective interest to work towards a more sustainable future and for us, we view the concept of interdependence as a guiding principle.

— The journey so far has been very bumpy and also connected to many sleepless nights. At times, I have been very close to giving up. Videung isn’t perfect and we want to be transparent about that. Perfection can be rather dull and, to be honest, it’s never enduring — if attainable at all.

Lastly, how can your industry become greener?

— We could all make better choices. One important solution is the product design that I keep coming back to. Using recyclable materials is not enough. The market will never start recycling beds if the design does not enable and encourage this, says Sandhu Wilén. He adds:

— I guess our way of thinking considering the product design would work in other fields as well. Take a washing machine as an example, that the users could only change the drum and computer when needed and keep the frame structure. That frame design always stays the same and could be kept for a long time — if the product is designed right.