European Sleep Works (ESW) in Berkeley, California, is a leading seller of bedding designed according to European concepts and using European components. They are especially known for the Oxygen Pillow, made in their Lavin Industries plant in Richmond, CA, and their Natural Mattresses, made by affiliate Berkeley Ergonomics in Ontario, CA. "The idea began over 30 years ago, with the opening of a small mattress shop in the Bay Area. A few years later Berkeley Ergonomics was born through the co-operation of Colin Hunter and Mike Lavin – experienced professionals who now each have 35 years experience in the design and sales of innovative sleep systems. Together they developed the fundamental concepts of natural mattresses, free from harmful chemicals, which continues today." These products are sold in the European Sleep Works store and several other retailers under the brand name Berkeley Ergonomics.
There are five lines of mattresses: Alpine ES, Alpine, Nordic III, 8" All-Latex and Children's. All but the Children's come with four firmness options. The covers on all of these are quilted organic cotton and Merino wool. And the optimum foundation for these is the flexible slat base, a distinctly European design. Each adult mattress can be made plusher with the addition of the optional pillow-top. All of the componenets are eco-certified through Oeko-Tex.
The Alpine ES, also called "Baltic ES," is a softer version of the Alpine. Like the Alpine, the top layer is 2 inches of naturally produced Talalay latex, known for its soft resilience. Below this layer is the spring unit of 800 Swedish hyper-compressed coils, which ESW says, "optimizes contour while creating a decidedly buoyant character."
The Alpine is European Sleep Works "original European-Style mattress," which has been in production for more than 20 years. Where it differs from the Alpine ES is the spring support core. The Alpine uses German-made bi-level coils. The 1,100+ bi-level coils are pocketed and have alternating heights, which are reputed to be more conformable to the shape of the sleeper's body.
The Nordic III is described by European Sleep Works as "the perfect combination of luxury and support." In this line, both German and the Swedish coils are used, the German micro-coils atop the Swedish. The 945 Swedish are said to be "bouyant" and the 1,500 micro-coils "stabilizing."
The 8" All-Latex mattresses are a break from the innerspring models. Beneath the cotton-wool cover are two latex layers: 2" of soft Talalay latex and 6" of the firmer, more supportive, Dunlop latex. European Sleep Works describes this as, "suprisingly plush." They tout the long-wear of the mattress and the absence of motion transfer. Like the other adult-sized ESW mattresses, the customer has a choice from four firmness levels.
There are two Children's models: "Children's Basic" and "K2." The Basic is for younger children (under 10 years of age), and the K2 for the older children and teens. Both are twin sized. The 7.5" high Basic is very basic: the German pocketed coil unit with the quilted cover of organic cotton and Merino. The K2 adds an inch of natural Talalay latex to better support and cushion larger children. Although ESW's description speaks of these mattresses being appropriate for children above or below a certain age, this writer feels it would be better to rate them by weight and height. Parents need to take this into consideration when considering mattresses for their children, especially if they are large for their age.