Monday, November 30, 2009

The way a bed is supposed to be...

Selling mattresses was a side of the furniture business that we had avoided for our fourteen years of business, because generally we felt that the mattress industry was designed to confuse the customer. Indeed, much of what was out there confused us; the way that mattresses were made and priced just didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. We started out as furniture designers and makers ourselves, so always want to know that we're offering value to our customers in everything we sell, including mattresses.

This fall, though, we had the exceptional opportunity to visit the factory of Vi-Spring, Europe's premier bed manufacturer in Plymouth, in the south of England. Each Vi-Spring bed is built individually, to order, entirely by hand, to create the one perfect bed for each customer. It's a bed with a lifetime warranty, that you will have for decades to come. It's a bed that will change the way that you sleep, which will change the way you live.

Vi-Spring beds managed to, over the past 100 years, gain an almost legendary reputation for quality, comfort and endurance. Vi-Spring was founded in 1901 and was the first company to produce 'pocketspring' mattresses, based on individually packaged springs.

This unique system caused a revolution in the way beds were made, and ensured a hitherto unheard of level of comfort, support, and durability, which today, too, guarantees quality of sleep for a lot of people.

Here's a picture of me holding the calico nested springs. Vi-Spring makes their own springs; each spring has six turns of high quality vanadium steel. Vi-Spring's unique close honeycomb buildup allows for the use of many more springs than usual and thus to guarantee exact support, in every spot. This buildup also makes for a smooth sleeping surface, by not leaving any room between springs, and so prevents shifting of the covering layers. A Vi-Spring mattress can contain up to thousands of spring in separate cotton pockets with, on average 30% more thread than the average bedspring. The Vi-Spring range of mattresses contains several spring options with different diametres and spring tensions, so that you can always find the mattress that fits you perfectly.

Here's Chris with lambswool and horsehair fibres that are about to be blended together. Synthetic materials simply do not breathe as cotton, lambswool and calico do. Where possible, costly natural materials are used to boost a refreshing sleep: pure cashmere, fine lambswool, manelong horsehair and soft cotton. This mixture continues to breathe timelessly. The finest Egyptian cotton, coated with wax, is called 'cambric' and forms a protective layer to prevent the hair from pricking through the mattress' surface.

Whilst some synthetic beds can make you uncomfortably hot, a natural Vi-Spring bed keeps you cool in Summer and snug in Winter. It’s why, unlike almost every other bed-maker in the world, Vi-Spring makes mattresses with 100% natural materials.

This picture shows a Vi-Spring employee side-stitching the mattress by hand. Each mattress within the range is typified by at least two rows of side-stitching, to fasten each external spring, by hand, to the mattress sides. Side-stitching is done by experienced upholsterers who use a traditional long needle and yarn for the fortification of the edges and seams. This improves the durability and preservation of shape. The springs are securely embedded, but can move freely and adapt quickly to every movement of the sleeper. In addition, the comfort of the sleeping area extends itself to the utter rim of the mattress, without any hindersome hard edges.

Vi-Spring's natural fillings include horsehair, cotton, coir, lambswool, cashmere, mohair, silk, blended lambswool and cotton and bonded lambswool and cotton. There are three different categories of mattress filling:
Comfort layers – providing fluffiness, softness, ventilation and moisture regulation, placed directly underneath the ticking of the mattress.
Insulators - should be strong and have some 'mass' to divide pressure or to protect the softer comfort layers/filling materials.
Filling materials – must be resilient to give support during sleep and, after a night’s sleep, to return mattress to its original shape. In general, the higher the grams per square metre (gsm), the more 'comfort' the product will offer.

Only damask of the finest quality is used to upholster these valuable mattresses. Boxsprings, upholstered divans, and headboards complete the perfect bedroom.

After seeing how Vi-Spring mattresses are made, we know that we are offering the best product for our customers to spend a third of their life on which to sleep.

Vi-Spring beds are distributed throughout boutique and specialty stores throughout Europe. Attica is proud to be the exclusive proprietor of Vi-Spring mattresses in Atlantic Canada.