A form of waterbed was invented in the early 1800s by the Scottish physician Neil Arnott. Dr Arnott’s Hydrostatic Bed was devised to prevent bedsores in invalids, and comprised a bath of water with a covering of rubber-impregnated canvas, on which lighter bedding was placed. Arnott did not patent it, permitting anyone to construct a bed to this design. The modern waterbed was created by Charles Hall in 1968, while he was a design student at San Francisco State University in California. Fellow SFSU students Paul Heckel and Evan Fawkes also contributed to the concept. Hall originally wanted to make an innovative chair. His first prototype was a vinyl bag with 300 pounds (136 kg) of cornstarch, but the result was uncomfortable. He next attempted to fill it with Jell-O, but this too was a failure.
Water beds seem to have gone out of fashion and quickly as they came in. And yet, many of us still cling to the idea is something cool, unusual and unique. While traditional beds filled with water might not be as functional or comfortable as we had hoped, designers are still experimenting with the potential combinations of liquid volumes and relaxation objects in the home.
A water bed surrounded by a moat – what an interesting way to wake up in the morning. Still, it is certainly not something for sleep walkers. We like to relax in water though, right? So how about taking water and applying it to another piece of furniture … such as a couch? Probably a crazy idea, but it does get you thinking about the other strange and interesting ways we can mix water with furniture design.
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