The LAGO floating bed Fluttua is an outstanding design idea: here is why
More than market research, it is powerful design concepts that turn a product into a best-seller and a game changer. Meet the LAGO floating bed that did just this.
It’s impossible, when you see the LAGO floating bed Fluttua, not to stop and wonder. Is it hovering, is it an optical illusion, how does it work? And, above all, will it hold when used for more engaging activities than sleeping?
Design works at its best when it manages to create a relationship between people and objects: things last because we find them useful but also because we feel for them.
In this sense, it comes natural to consider this suspended piece of furniture, in production since 2004, an outstanding piece of design.
Fluttua has it all: it catches your eyes, engages your emotions, provokes your brain, promotes a lightness made of subtraction without giving in to cold minimalism.
It’s a kind of magic that occurs when a project stems from a single yet extremely strong concept.
“I wanted to create a floating mattress”, Daniele Lago – CEO of the company and Head of Design – recalls today.
It cannot be simpler than this.
And the challenge starts when you have to turn the idea into an actual product.
Innovating through market inputs or design ingenuity?
“There are many ways to innovate”, says Daniele.
“The most common approach is to work with marketing input.
Although it’s vital to listen to the market – something we do by engaging constantly with our very wide digital community – we are convinced that real life-changing solutions will not come from looking at what’s already there but from imagining what if.
An activity that comes naturally to designers”.
So in order to make the mattress float LAGO re-considered the traditional bed design.
How does the LAGO floating bed stand?
“We reviewed the idea of the bed base and the containing elements on the side”, explains Daniele.
“We needed to figure out how to ensure that forces would unload in an invisible place rather than at the four corners as it normally occurs”.
This meant exiting the comfort zone and thinking out of the box.
LAGO came up with the idea of a single central leg (which is adjustable in height during assembly) and a metal frame with one side anchored to the wall.
This structure holds an 8 mm base in High Pressure Laminate (HPL) onto which the mattress rests.
The base features a series of cuts that were specifically designed to create an air flow and give a good degree of elasticity to the HPL.
The key feature of the metal frame – invisible to the observer because it’s a cantilever – is the presence of diagonal tie rods that unload the weight on the telescopic leg located at the center of the base.
The project required technical knowledge and experience in terms of statics and materials behavior to review parameters that are normally taken for granted: no one ever wonders if a bed can actually hold your weight, while in Fluttua’s case, LAGO had an accredited, independent lab testing it to prove its capacity to hold up to 240 kg.
Simplicity and relevance: the essence of good design ideas
The LAGO floating bed Fluttua is celebrating its 18 years in 2022 and it’s still going strong.
More than 100,000 people have slept and are still sleeping on it making it an absolute best-seller amongst signature beds.
Yet it didn’t originate from anything more than a designer’s intuition.
As Daniele says:
“A good design idea is one you can explain with words. It is powerful, yet simple.
It makes you fall in love.
And it has more value for people than you can imagine: it’s inherently relevant for them”
In this sense, a good design idea that lasts cannot be related to mere aesthetics.
“People fall for decorative patterns, fashionable elements of design.
But these tend to become obsolete while a concept that addresses people’s intimate emotions, as well as their rational thinking, is there to stay”, says Daniele.
When he started working on Fluttua, for instance, Daniele and his team hadn’t considered factors such as hygiene, dimensions and convenience which, very soon after, turned out to be key in its success story.
Listening to the community fuels good design
Indeed, what happened after Fluttua was presented was a strong bottom-up push: people loved the idea of the LAGO floating bed and found all sorts of reasons to want it, beyond the mere wow effect.
“When they need to make an important purchase”, continues Daniele, people are attracted emotionally to products but decide rationally.
It soon turned out that, when it came to Fluttua, they appreciated what it had to offer in terms of hygiene, dimensions and convenience”.
As a matter of fact, freeing the area under the mattress makes it extremely easy to access and clean.
Doing away with the side element that normally hides or holds the mattress also increases the sleeping area since the mattress literally occupies the whole available space.
This translates in 20 extra cm, the difference between a normal bed and a king size and the extra comfort it entails.
“Some of our customers told us that they positioned lights with motion sensors below the frame and obtained a comfort light for the night that turns on as soon as they place their feet on the floor.
By listening to inputs such as these we later include an illumination system into the bed design”.
Can the strategy of a brand originate from a design idea?
According to Daniele Lago yes.
“Lightness is key to our overall product development strategy and it originated with the conception of Fluttua”.
Again, this was an unexpected development, one that neither Daniele Lago nor the whole company anticipated.
“It developed naturally, though”, he recalls.
“And this is another characteristic of strong design ideas: when they catch a powerful theme, address dream-like emotions and provide answers to relevant needs pursuing them further is a company’s instinctive step.
One that, in our case, has proven to work successfully for almost two decades”.