AWARD 2020

"Haute Couture bed"

The Elite Company, founded in 1895, which head office is in Aubonne, Switzerland, organises, starting on 2020 September 9th, the third 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.

The rules The brief

The company


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 high-quality 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 select only environmentally friendly, sustainable raw materials. Production, which still takes place in Switzerland, relies on a relationship of trust with partners, expertise and attention to details by the company’s employees. This leads to ethical, ecological and social responsibility both on the part of partners and customers as on that of its employees.

  • The birth
    a mattress
  • The Boxspring,
    ancestral know-how
  • The headboard,
    the essence of the bed

Elite house seeks to forge its own distinctive path and prioritise craftsmanship and well-being. 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 craft workers.

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


Elite Design Award 2019 - Shahril Faisal's project - 1st 1
Elite Design Award 2019 - Shahril Faisal - 1st 1st prize Shahril Faisal

Shahril Faisal was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1983. His passion towards creativity and creation since young has led him to pursuit his degree in industrial design from University Technology Malaysia in 2006.
From 2007 to 2013, Shahril has worked as a Product Designer for the Japanese multinational manufacturer of Shimano Malaysia and as a Senior Automotive Stylist for Nissan Parts Malaysia.

Read more See the project

Elite Design Award 2019 - Zohreh Ahooei's project - 2nd 2
Elite Design Award 2019 - Zohreh Ahooei - 2nd 2nd prize Zohreh Ahooei

Iranian born Zohreh Ahooei, a product design graduate from Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in Germany is the founder of Zurich based Ahooei Design studio. Focusing on the use of colours and materials, she has been a leading creative for design projects in a variety of industries, such as furniture, fashion and automotive. Her design philosophy cycles around the idea, that only the perfect blend of colour, material and finish will sharpen and embrace the best perception and full beauty of a product.

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Elite Design Award 2019 - Rachel Suming's project - 3rd 3
Elite Design Award 2019 - Zohreh Ahooei - 3rd 3rd prize Rachel Suming

Rachel Suming is a French multi-disciplinary designer. After graduating in product and furniture design at Ecole Boulle Paris, she specialized in design for craftsmanship and luxury with a master degree from Swiss school ECAL.

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Elite Design Award 2018 - Maite Otano et Pablo Santos's project - 1st 1
Elite Design Award 2018 - Maite Otano et Pablo Santos - 1st 1st prize Maite Otano and Pablo Santos

Pablo and Maite are a team of multidisciplinary designers based in Barcelona. Their activity involves product and furniture design, with a strong focus on the user's experience. The foundation of their project is the balance between functionality, harmony and durability. They look for innovation, excitement and pleasure, aiming to make people's life easier and more pleasant.

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Elite Design Award 2018 - Fuhua Wang and Weichih Chen's project - 2nd 2
Elite Design Award 2018 - Fuhua Wang and Weichih Chen - 2nd 2nd prize Fuhua Wang and Weichih Chen

Fuhua and Weichih are Taiwanese designers graduated in product design from NABA in Milan in 2015 and 2016. After they met in Milan they decided to work as partners for multiple design projects. Their design approach specializes in materials driven, process led, and industrial design across consumer products and electronic goods. 

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Elite Design Award 2018 - Chung-Yen Chang's project - 3rd 3
Elite Design Award 2018 - Chung-Yen Chang - 3rd 3rd prize Chung-Yen Chang

Chung-Yen Chang is a Milan based product and furniture designer. After graduated from Domus Academy, he started his career in collaboration with Stefano Giovannoni. In Chang’s work, the design conducts as not only shape polishing but also as a practical solution that reflects user experience and emotional connection beyond the objects.

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1st 5’000 CHF
2nd 3'000 CHF
3rd 2'000 CHF

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 Milan Design Week 2020

Theme: "haute couture bed"

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, they are 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 item 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.

Participation Conditions


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

  • Graduates of 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
  • Students of schools of design, architecture, interior design or engineering
  • Any person wishing to innovate in bedding
  • Individually or in teams (2 people max.)


The following criteria will be used to assess the proposals:

  • Consistency with the positioning of the company (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 competition theme and specifications

Technical characteristics and constraints

These constraints must be adhered in order to combine style and comfort:

  • The base bed must be a minimum of 10 to 12 cm deep
  • The reference mattress you shall work with is 180 cm wide and 200 cm long
    (Elite mattresses are 22 cm to 35 cm deep)


  • If more than one project is sent 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


1 Registration process

  • 9th September 2019:
    opening of the registrations
  • 2nd November 2019:
    deadline for the registrations and the issue of registration numbers

2 Submission process

  • 2nd November – 12th December 2019:
    (December 12th 2019 midnight Geneva time, as recorded by the date and time that the email is sent, is the final deadline to submit the project at the following address : eda@elitedesignaward.ch

3 Selection process

  • January 2020:
    selection of the projects by the jury
  • February 2020:
    announcement of the winners*
  • 21st– 26th April 2020:
    presentation of the projects and award ceremony during the Milan Design Week 2020

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


Elite Design Award: Member of the Jury

Be creative !

When the projects have been submitted, the jury will meet in January 2020 to select the prize winners.

Elite Design Award: Iria Degen

Iria Degen

After a law degree in Zürich and her studies at École Camondo in Paris, Iria Degen worked for the French interior architect, Andrée Putman. In 2000 she founded her own interior design studio. Today she runs her office in Zurich and has realized numerous international projects. She is a member of the Association of Swiss Interior Architects and she is the Swiss delegate of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers.

Elite Design Award: Daphna Glaubert

Daphna Glaubert

Architect and design management specialist

Trained as an architect, Daphna Glaubert worked for 8 years in international architecture and design offices before specializing in design management and innovation. She currently collaborates with the HEIG-VD business school and the ECAL design school to promote the practice and culture of design within companies.

Elite Design Award: Bertille Laguet

Bertille Laguet

Product Designer

Bertille Laguet is a designer graduated from ECAL, and she is also a blacksmith. You can find her at "La Forge" in Chexbres a village in the vineyard along the lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Elite Design Award: Laure Gremion

Laure Gremion

Industrial Designer

After her studies at ECAL and Design Academy Eindhoven, Laure Gremion gained professional experience by working in various companies before launching her own studio in early 2017. Stimulated by ambitious projects, she spices up her creations by collaborating with various specialized companies. Following her attempts to bring a new angle that will make you smile and dream while being functional.

Elite Design Award: Jörg Boner

Jörg Boner

(Studio Jörg Boner), Industrial designer

Jörg Boner is based in Zurich. His developments continue to question conventional modes of production. His work emphasises innovation in production and functionality in use as much as the beauty and elegance of objects.

Elite Design Award: François Pugliese

François Pugliese

Director of the Elite company

François Pugliese has an enterprising mindset and always wants to innovate in the bedding sector in oder to offer exceptional products within a focus on well-being and craftsmanship.

Elite Design Award: Sandro Savoretti

Sandro Savoretti

Trained as a cabinetmaker 30 years ago, Sandro Savoretti runs his own workshop with a team of over 20 employees in Tolochenaz. Over the years, he has been working with the best architects who benefit from his recognised know how and creativity. Thanks to his knowledge and experience Sandro creates unique leaving spaces and made-to-measure furniture.


Candidate carrying the project

(reference person in case of team)

* Required fields

Co-crew 1

(in case of team)

Commitment and confidentiality

I certify that I have read and accepted the privacy policy, the conditions of participation, the rules and the brief. Otherwise, I will not be able to participate in the Elite Design Award competition. In addition, I certify that all the informations in this form are accurate.