The Stressless history
Stressless was introduced in 1971, as the first recliner designed to meet your body’s need for movement and support when seated. The characteristic TV-recliner was a revolution in comfort and functionality, and soon became an international success.
Offering patented features you won’t find on other recliners, from the glide system that follows your slightest movements, to the Plus™ system for correct neck and lumbar support in every position, Stressless® is still known as the ultimate recliner.
1971: The first Stressless is introduced
The first Stressless was launched in Norway and immediately became the first real TV chair. You could lean backwards and rest, watch TV in comfort or turn around to face the coffee table with one easy movement. The patented sliding system attracted a great deal of attention and is still unique.
1980: Sales exceeds 100 million Norwegian Kroner
Stressless comfort had become an unparalleled success. Sales of Stressless passed the magical limit of 100 million Norwegian Kroner.
1981: The characteristic wooden base is introduced
The Stressless Royal recliner was the first model to have the characteristic wooden base.
1983: Stressless no. 500.000 was registered
Export exceeded 100 million Norwegian Kroner and the 500 000 th Stressless recliner was produced. The company's success
in the export market was rewarded in 1983 with Ekornes being awarded
the Norwegian Export Prize
1991: Launch of the patented Plus™ System
The patented Plus™ system was launched, with its pioneering automatic adjustment of the headrest and lumbar support. At last, people could read and watch TV leaning back in a recliner. Stressless strengthened its position as the most comfortable swivel recliner.
1993: Stressless sofa revolutionises
The first Stressless sofa was launched, The Stressless Royal 2- and 3-seater. This was based on the idea that people need to be able to move individually just as much when sitting in a sofa as in a recliner. The sales message became: ‘In a Stressless sofa, every seat is a Stressless’.
1996: Same design in several sizes
Ekornes started to make the same design in two or three sizes. Stressless was the first recliner in the market to take into account that people with different builds have to have different chair sizes in order to sit comfortably.
1999: Unique read and sleep function
The sleep function is an extension of the unique Plus™ System. The user can choose whether the headrest is in the reading or sleeping position when the chair is reclined. Once more Stressless was the first to introduce a pioneering innovation.
When Pope John Paul II visited Mexico, General Motors constructed a specially made 1998 model Cadillac DeVille known as the ”Popemobile”. A white Stressless® was mounted in the car, to be used as a throne for the Pope.
Stressless Senator was awarded “Best Buy” from the American magazine Consumer’s Digest. Stressless Savannah was given the “Chair of the year” award at the
Birmingham Furniture Show.
2001: Matching design allows new opportunities
Ekornes introduced matching designs into the Stressless collection in their range of fixed back sofas. This allowed new opportunities for combining reclining and fixed-back furniture. The idea was a hit worldwide. Stressless sales exceeded the massive milestone of 1 billion
2003: Home theatre
A tailor-made home theatre set-up based on Stressless was launched. The concept was very well received throughout the world.
2004: New factory and redesign of logo
The Ekornes factory at Ikornnes was extended by 30,000 square metres to accommodate the continual increase of Stressless sales. The factory is one of the most modern furniture factories in the world. Through extensive use of advanced robotics, the production capacity increased substantially. 2004 was also the year when the redesigned Stressless logo was introduced.
2005: Introduction of low-back Stressless sofas
Stressless Paradise was launched as low-back sofa with full Stressless functions. The goal over time is to convert all Ekornes sofas into Stressless sofas. At the same time, Ekornes Fairytale was introduced, a roomy and comfortable corner solution which also can be used separately. Both models quickly became popular worldwide.
Stressless Jazz is launched at the annual furniture fair in Ålesund. This design was inspired by the Stressless Original, the visible steel giving it a more contemporary look compared to other models.
Ekornes wins an important copy case for Stressless chairs against Danish furniture chain Biva.
Stressless Jazz got the “Award for Design Excellence” from the Norwegian Design Council.
The Stressless production facility for laminated wood, J.E. Ekornes AS dep. Tynes, starts production after going through extensive modernisation.
A new design of Stressless sofas with ErgoAdapt-system are launched. ErgoAdapt is a built-in system, with a discreet tilting mechanism that makes the sofa’s seat automatically adjust to your body, providing a perfect sitting angle or sleeping position. Sofas with this system are available from early 2010.
New research shows that more than 90% of the Norwegian population know the Stressless brand.
The design programme Stressless Design Online is launched. This web-based tool allows you to see all Stressless models in 3D, build your own combinations and place them in a room-design of your own.
Ekornes celebrates the 40 years’ anniversary for Stressless. Since the introduction in 1971, more than 6.5 million Stressless seats are sold, and Stressless is a registered trademark in over 60 countries. There are approximately 2,500 Stressless dealers world-wide.
The world’s first sewing robot is put to work at the Stressless factory, to sew covers for the base of models Stressless Jazz and Blues.
Ekornes starts using water-based stain and varnish in Stressless production. A new 1600 m2 addition to the main Stressless factory at Ikornnes opens to house the new stain and varnish facility.
Ekornes opens a production facility for Stressless in Morganton, NC, USA. This factory will receive parts from Norway and make Stressless sofas for the North American market to shorten delivery times.
Stressless Home Office is launched.
A new communication concept for Stressless is launched, to strengthen Stressless’ position as the leading comfort furniture brand. The new concept is developed for use on print, studios, TV and web.
A new and improved version of Stressless Design Online is launched.
Stressless recliners with Starbase are launched. The first designs, Stressless Metro and Stressless City, have the same steel frame as Stressless Original and a sleek and elegant design while retaining all the Stressless benefits and features.
Stressless products are endorsed by The Chiropractor’s Association in Australia. This is similar to the endorsement Stressless has had for many years with the Chiropractic Association in the USA.
The innovative BalanceAdapt™ system is introduced on a new line of Stressless sofas. The built-in system allows the sofa’s back and seat to adjust the position automatically according to the movements of the body, and the soft rocking motion provides an added dimension to the comfort experience.
Two Stressless chairs with a new base called “Signature” are launched. This base combines wood and aluminium, and features the BalanceAdapt-system. The subtle and soft rocking motion increases your comfort in any position and also ensures that the sitting angle adjusts
A brand new collection called Stressless YOU is launched. This collection offers chairs and sofas that are minimalistic and precise in expression, yet uncompromisingly comfortable.
The production of Stressless chairs is presented in the 11th season of the popular science programme «How Do They Do It?» on Discovery/Science Channel. The taping of the show was made in 2013, and is shown in many countries during 2014.
Stressless City is listed as a winner of Coastal Living's 2015 Design Awards, labeled as "the people, places and things we're celebrating for exceptional seaside style in the year ahead!" Stressless is in good company with some very luxurious international brands and locations.
Stressless products are endorsed by The Chiropractic Association in Singapore.
The first Stressless chairs with covers made by an automated sewing robot are delivered. The sewing robot is now operative in the sewing department.
At the annual fair for Scandinavian retailers, Ekornes presents a Stressless collection that is considerably extended, offering more flexibility and more options. The three-size story is re-introduced on Stressless chairs, and free choice between the Classic base, the Signature base with BalanceAdapt or Home Office base.
The six Stressless factories and the Stressless Product Development Department are certified according to the requirements of ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment).
Stressless with LegComfort is launched. The new electric integrated footrest sets a precedent within industry through its heightened functionality.
Stressless YOU James recliner is voted “Product of the year” in the chair category by readers of the popular German interior design magazine Wohnidee.
Stressless Crown is awarded “Best Buy” from the American magazine Consumer’s Digest.