Inner workings are not the only thing that make a Daniel Heer horsehair mattress extraordinary. The shape—the characteristic combination of rectangular form, soft edges, and rhythmic recesses—is too beautiful to conceal beneath a blanket or spread. Daniel Heer has liberated the mattress from its life in the shadows; it has emerged with coverings that can be personally selected from a variety of exquisite materials. Yet all these materials have one thing in common: they are natural, pure, genuine—and thus beautiful. And all are suitable to withstand the demands of a daybed, or a mattress for night-rest.
This classic upholstery was developed in the 18th century especially for mattresses. Woven from pure cotton in Lancashire County, England, this material is sturdy, impermeable to any stray jutting horse hair from within the mattress—and always striped. Formerly seen merely as utilitarian, this simple and pure material need no longer remain hidden beneath bedding—its straightforward design is presentable just as well by day. Daniel Heer procures his ticking from this fabric’s only remaining weaver in the region, which is certified by Britain’s Soil Association using the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Tweed: clò mòr in Gaelic, or “great cloth”. It is best known as premium suit fabric. Used as a cover fabric, however, it is strong both in structure and appearance. Horsehair mattresses in tweed have presence in a room, they make a visual statement that is expressed by a contradiction: the “roughness” of the material stands in stark contrast to the soft form of the mattress. Daniel Heer offers tweed as a cover fabric from either Scotland or Ireland. The classic, more famous Harris Tweed is woven on the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. A manifesto guarantees its origin: “Tweed means a tweed has been hand-woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.” Daniel Heer primarily uses Harris Tweed woven in traditional plaid. The interplay of lines and colours creates a vibrant yet invitingly comfortable impression for this fabric as cover material. And then there is the tweed from Donegal, Ireland, a fabric woven for centuries using yarn spun from premium virgin wool, and traversed by narrow wefts of colour. The blue of blueberry, the purple-red of fuchsia, or the green of Irish moss culminate in little neps that, far from getting lost in the overall effect of the material, give the fabric its vitality. As a result this Irish Tweed is an optically more subtle relative of the Harris Tweed, inferior in no way, and just as striking.
Daniel Heer also offers the furniture upholstery Remix, conceived for Kvadrat by the Italian designer Giulio Ridolfo. This fabric has no pattern, yet yields optical finesse. It is composed of blended yarns in which each thread comprises three different colours. The result is a mélange that plays with light and form. The surface of the mattress comes alive; depending on how the light hits it, the colour changes along its bowings and recesses. The shifting light over the course of a day creates an effect that is ever-changing and always outstanding.
No other fabric shapes our everyday lives as much as denim jeans. Daniel Heer works with the rugged indigo blue cotton textile from the White Oak Cone Mill in North Carolina. He uses it in two ways; the mattress can be upholstered to expose the denim’s indigo surface or its undyed underside. The first variant creates the same worn effect as with your favourite jeans: the edges and support surface become lighter, but the material remains dark blue in all of its recesses. The mattress thus changes over time, faithfully bearing its signs of use and aging with spirit.
Germany’s red deer is the source of the most noble of all suedes. Daniel Heer procures the skin locally from the Kolesch family tannery in the Schwäbische Oberland, where the same buffing methods have been used since the 18th century. The leather is limed with pure calcium lime, hung in the Biberach tanning brook to decalcify and then tanned with cod oil. After more than three hundred different treatment steps requiring more than a year, the leather is finally ready to use. Typically one side is then dyed, but Daniel Heer uses it in its unaltered form; he prefers to show the markings of life on the animal’s skin, especially those acquired by stags during the skirmishes of rutting season. There is a myth that a deer’s strength and bravery live on in those who wear its skin. A bed with a deerskin mattress is thus a magical place by day and night. It goes without saying that the antiseptic properties of a deerskin mattress provide exceptional hypo-allergenic conditions for your skin.