Ekornes 90 years logo on factory image

Our history

Established in 1934, the company began as a specialist manufacturer of metal springs for the furniture industry. Guided by the visionary leadership of founder Jens E. Ekornes and fueled by the dedication of its employees, the company rapidly ascended to become the leading player among Norwegian furniture manufacturers.


Svane spring mattress

1934-1944: The breakthrough years

After working for a wicker furniture producer for some years, Jens E. Ekornes establishes the J.E. Ekornes Fjærfabrikk in 1934 and starts production of furniture springs. He adopts a customer-centric approach, continually striving for enhancements in production and product innovation. In 1937, Ekornes launches its first mattress, under Norway’s first furniture brand: Svane®.

Production of Svane Mattress

1945 - 1954: Patiently planning

Jens E. Ekornes studies mattress manufacturing in the USA and brings back machines for production of upholstered spring mattresses. He is building up a rational and effective production of springs, mattresses and wood-based products, and is always on the lookout for synergies within the existing production. The product range is evolving.

Comina from Ekornes

1955 - 1964: Systematically optimizing efficiency

This is a period characterized by consolidation and growth for the company. With a focus on integrating its value chain, Ekornes establishes a production line for polyurethane foam. Additionally, the company has developed an organization dedicated to systematically optimizing efficiency, solidifying its strong presence in the domestic market where the range of Svane® mattresses has seen significant success.

Stressless Original from Ekornes

1965 - 1974: The start of the Stressless® era

The expansion of the product range continues, with the launch of Ekornes’ first collection of lounge furniture. After experiencing great success with the Combina-series in the 60’s, the company starts working on a revolutionary new recliner which was launched in 1971: Stressless®. Effectively manufactured and incorporating the latest manufacturing principles, the new recliner propels Ekornes into years of growing sales and export.

Developing Stressless Royal from Ekornes

1975 - 1984: Export growth

The turnover is growing, exceeding NOK 100 million in 1975. In 1977, the Ekornes group is the largest furniture manufacturer in Scandinavia. The Stressless® collection passes NOK 100 mill. in turnover in 1980 and the export numbers are steadily increasing – passing the milestone of NOK 100 mill. in 1983. Jens E. Ekornes dies in 1976, whilst still being at the helm as Managing Director of the company.

Sitto from Ekornes

1985 - 1994: International expansion challenges

Acquisitions of foreign companies give Ekornes a stronger presence in the international markets yet mark the onset of some turbulent years for the company. This leads to restructuring and a downsizing of production units, followed by refinancing efforts. The year 1992 marks a turning point, as it becomes the first profitable year since the deficits began in 1984. By 1994, celebrating its 60th anniversary, the company achieves its most remarkable result to date.

Ekornes As

1995 - 2004: Company growth initiatives

Ekornes is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in March 1995, initiating a period of significant growth. Cutting-edge production facilities are constructed in Sykkylven to pave the way for further expansion. The new Stressless factory commences operations in 2004 and is dimensioned for a capacity of 2000 chairs per day. Ekornes also opens a permanent showroom, "Ekornes Bua", in Ålesund, to welcome guests from all over the world. There are now 1.500 Stressless studios world-wide, and a survey from 2003 shows that more than 20 mill. people know the Stressless brand name.  

Modern production at Ekornes

2005 - 2014: Increased global presence

During this decade, the company strengthens its investments in the use of modern information and communication technology, including a new quality management system. Ekornes becomes Norway’s most highly automated company, with the installation of industrial robot no. 100. A new, water-based coating facility opens at Ikornnes, and the company joins the UN’s Global Compact. Ekornes establishes sales offices in more parts of the world and opens a production facility in Morganton, USA, to reduce lead times for sofas to the North American market. The Ekornes Group acquires furniture producer IMG.

Motorized recliner and dining furniture from Stressless

2015 - 2024: Expanding the collection

Alongside the new range of furniture brought in by the acquisition of IMG, Ekornes adds dining furniture, motorized chairs and sofas to its Stressless collection. In 2018, a group of Chinese investors, led by Qumei Home Furnishings Group, acquires the company’s shares and Ekornes is delisted from the Oslo Stock Exchange. IMG strengthens its position in Europe through the opening of a new production facility in Lithuania, and Stressless reaches the milestone of 10 million seats sold. During the pandemics in 2020-2022, the Ekornes Group has record-high production numbers, with up to 2400 seats per day.