Why Now?  12 of 13 Short Stories.  4 minute read.

Only things that are alive, or have been alive contain DNA; the biological information and hereditary material necessary for life. Like a recipe or blueprint, DNA contains the design for all life. Relying on DNA based materials for design inspiration aligned with our goal to create and produce the most restful, the healthiest, most environmentally considerate bed/mattress ever made.

The presence of DNA in materials confirms they are 1) created by biological processes, 2) already a design ‘approved’ by nature, 3) contain valuable nutrients for future life, 4) safely biodegrade, and 5) are not toxic petrochemicals. Because these attributes dovetail perfectly with Horizontal’s Four Design Standards, DNA became the benchmark to identify the best raw materials for our new product.

interlocking frame inspired by ancient Japanese joinery

Inspired by traditional Japanese joinery our Ash frame slides together and interlocks.

The wood, wool, cotton and latex used to make Horizontal each have their own unique DNA signature. They possess natural, organic characteristics. Our amazing bed frame is made entirely from Ash, a strong, stable, and reliable hardwood. Ash is renowned as the original wood of choice for professional baseball bats. Because Ash is so flexible and resilient, it’s been used for centuries to make long bows. These properties made Ash an excellent choice for the slats in our suspension system. Our suspension system and mattress ‘float’ on ‘noodles’ of botanical rubber. It’s processed using the original Dunlop method because it’s 99% pure. Quilted within Horizontal’s mattress top is a lofty layer of thick, resilient wool batting. It breathes, moderates temperature and wicks moisture away from the body. Below it, a layer of dense wool felt envelops the entire bed, naturally repelling bed bugs without pesticides, and providing outstanding fire protection without chemicals so toxic, their names are redacted. Layers of GOTS certified, 100% cotton textiles, woven, canvas and knit, are quilted together, holding the wool layers in place.

Even though human interactions with these natural materials has diminished in just two generations, they feel instantly familiar and so right. Innate knowledge within our own DNA informs us our ancestors lived and slept with these materials.

bed frame

Our suspension system’s ability to flex and twist resembles a DNA helix.

During product development, our thoughts about DNA inspired design evolved beyond choice of materials. Looking at our suspension system, you’ll see its ability to flex and twist resembles a DNA helix. A deliberate or subliminal design decision? We’re no longer sure. But as Horizontal came into being, we made a very conscious decision to design a textile cover for our bed/mattress that celebrates our commitment to healthy life on earth. Our GOTS certified textile cover is blue, representing our blue Earth, sky and water. Literally and figuratively, DNA is in Horizontal’s DNA!

Aristotle quote, Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece.

Ever since Nature created a stable climate humans could live in, we have been immersed and embedded within the cycles of Nature. Nature is around us, within us, and she passes through our human bodies as easily as we pass through a revolving door. We forget at our peril that human survival is completely reliant on these ancient cycles. In an ancient time, Aristotle observed, “If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature’s way.” Then and now, Nature is the best designer.

– Len Laycock

Author’s Note: All facts and information referenced in the Why Now? series, including facts and information about chemicals and their impacts on human health and environment, have been drawn from previously published sources in the European Union, United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and India. Sources include national and state government documents, government funded agencies, national and international corporations, peer reviewed research from universities, the industrial safety industry, material data safety sheets, worker’s compensation board records, articles published in major newspapers, articles published by national and international news reporting services, published authors respected in their fields, and reports and studies published by reputable nonprofits and environmental organizations.