‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead,’ they used to say. It’s becoming increasingly clear, though, that sleep deprivation can hurtle you towards the ultimate lights-out, and bedtime has never been more important. Design duo Neri & Hu would agree. Their new project for Molteni & C, the Twelve AM collection, launching at Salone del Mobile, has a bed at its heart. ‘We designed this bed as the ultimate resting place, but we also wanted it to be more than that,’ says Rossana Hu, who founded the studio with her work and life partner Lyndon Neri.

Indeed, by combining the bed with accessories and add-ons, ranging from side tables to a desk or shelf attachment, the designers have elevated the simple mattress and frame to a multifunctional hub.

Neri & Hu Twelve AM valet bench
The collection also comprises a valet bench with a tall backboard. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti

The bed’s smooth eucalyptus frame sits upon slim steel legs, while colours remain relatively neutral, with accents provided by small leather details. A curving headboard adds an element of privacy, but also supports a long cushion upholstered in either fabric or leather.

‘We decided to design a piece of furniture that could be used day and night’ – Neri & Hu

If you wake up in the middle of the night with the burning desire to sketch your next design or pen your new novel, the desk attachment tacked onto the back of the headboard provides the perfect spot. Need a place to put your glass of water? The two circular side tables that hook over the top of the bed have it covered. The bed can be equipped with a bench at its foot for additional seating, while there is also a separate, tall-backed valet bench.

Part of Neri & Hu’s research process saw the pair travel to Molteni & C’s HQ on the outskirts of Milan to study the brand’s archive, which includes classic pieces by the likes of Aldo Rossi and Gio Ponti, alongside more recent collections by Vincent Van Duysen, Michele De Lucchi and Jasper Morrison.

Neri & Hu Twelve AM bench
The range also includes a small bench. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti

‘The most important brief Molteni & C gave us was to make sure we respect its heritage with our sight to the future,’ say the designers. ‘We decided to design a piece of furniture that initially could be seen as one-dimensional but ultimately can be used during the day and at night.’

When it launches at this year’s Salone del Mobile, the collection will mark the first partnership between Molteni & C and the Shanghai-based designers, who established their practice in 2004 and seem to have never taken a day off since.

Neri & Hu Twelve AM bed
The bed is upholstered in a caramel chenille jacquard fabric, its cushions held by leather straps. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti

During the week of the Milan fair alone, the pair will also be launching a host of other collections – for Artemide, Paola C, Poltrona Frau and Stellar Works. Given their prolific output, you might think the pair had designed this multitasking bed with their own needs in mind. But as for their own resting habits? ‘We definitely need more sleep,’ they say. §

As originally featured in the May 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*242)