Hästens and the art of creating the world’s most comfortable mattresses

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Hästens, the Swedish bedmaker known for its horsetail hair-stuffed mattresses with six-figure price tags, has been the ultimate purveyor of beauty sleep for more than a century. Royals and aristocrats are long-time fans of the brand which prides itself on being discreet. Founded in 1852, the family-owned brand produces handcrafted mattresses that are customised to accommodate everything from body composition to temperature preferences. The handmade nature of each model is a signature of the brand — a point the company is happy to mention especially considering that many Hästens artisans represent multiple generation and families, passing on knowledge and expertise that’s been earned over a century. A closer look at the meticulous and often months-long process of building a single Hästens mattress — each of which is created in the company’s state-of- the-art, Ralph Erskine–designed “Santa’s workshop" in Köping, Sweden — reveals why the blue-checkered mattress is still the king of beds.

Hästens’s researchers call horsetail hair a “magic fibre" for its microscopic cavities. The hand-teased hair in each mattress helps offer support, circulate air, and wick moisture. The mattresses contain only sustainably-sourced fill. Flax helps divert static electricity; fire-retardant, insulated wool blended with natural cottons helps regulate temperature and encourage ventilation. Hästens’s longtime suppliers then weave, colour and coil the horsetail hair to precise specifications. Once received, the ropes are separated into different lengths and micro-curls before being teased and fluffed.

To create a mattress cover, fabric is hung for 3 days — removing any innate tension and attaining the optimum temperature and moisture levels — before being hand cut. High-quality pine from northern Sweden, where limited sunshine makes for slower-growing, more resilient trees, is used to craft the base. Cotton and flax help block dust and aid ventilation. The blended filling is layered between springs that are built with a proprietary metal and shape-preserving coating. Hand stitching then gives shape and stability to the sides of the mattress. The quantity and the spacing of the stitches vary by model. Sewing tufts, loops, and quilted patterns helps lock the materials and create comfort. The mattress, base, and topper are then triple-checked for quality, completing a process that can take as much as 320 hours of labour.

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Published January 2, 2018
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