Archive for the ‘Latest in Office Seating’ Category

Office Chair Preview: The Ray Leather Office Chair!

ray The Ray is a new leather conference room chair by Allseating. With a release date of September, we thought we’d take some time to offer a pre-emptive review of the Ray – given that it’s unique and stylish and should come in at a great price point.

The Ray offers a different look for use as a leather managerial chair, leather conference chair, or just a nice home office leather office chair. The arms are modern but retro, and fit with the design of the back nicely. They remind us a little bit of Legos with the indented area under the armrest.

The backrest is a mid-back, and should provide the user with ample back support for any application, except for executive seating, for which users it would not be good. What’s really nice about the Ray is the implementation of a new counter weight mechanism, which as the user leans back the seat slides forward slightly and promotes proper seating postures all the way around.

The seat and back are slightly on the firm side, leading to a comfortable, but not overly cushy seating feeling. Overall, the Ray looks to be a good chair. We tested the demo sample at NEOCON, and the production model looks to be the same – available in black or white leather, the Ray should provide leather office chair buyers a great alternative looking solution for their office space!

Office Chair Review: Knoll Generation Chair

Click to see me!

The Generation Chair by Knoll – Tested and tried at NeoCon 2009

This is a very unique chair – The first of its kind in terms of backrest motion and malleability.  Not to mention a very good looking little task chair.  But is it a once in a generation chair?  We sat and tested this chair at NeoCon Chicago 2009.  It is one in a new movement towards creating more unique tasking solutions.  The idea in concept is very sound, and the design team hit a home run on the backrest, but there are certain detraction’s that left us a bit disappointed, considering the hype.

To start, let’s put this chair in perspective to what it is, as it cannot be compared to leather office chairs, for example. More reasonable comparisons are the Humanscale Diffrient Task chair and the Herman Miller Setu Chair.  (We’ll be reviewing the Diffrient Task Chair shortly  – the Setu was also tried out, and we’ll have a basic review of that as well…) It is a task chair, meant for, and creating for, working environments.  With that said…

According to Knoll, it is a task chair meant for “collaborations” and fluid work environments.  However, if you sit in your desk typing all day, I hardly think this chair will do you any good.  Why?  The philosophy behind the chair is that we actually spend more time moving in our chair than sitting in it – this should be true, we should be moving, but do we? I mean, how many of us can type effectively in any of the positions shown below?  These people demonstrating the chair are in the act of talking, hanging out, possibly working.  The world will know.  But the basic fact remains that a workplace envornment where 95% of the time these are the ideal sitting positions doesn’t exist.  And you certainly cannot type in any of these positions.  Have you tried typing with your leg over the armrest?  More errors than you can imagine!  Which brings us to the next point regarding the use of the chair in respect to what it capacity the chair could be beneficial in…

As I mentioned before, it is a very good chair to collaborate in.  In spaces where people meet informally, talk a lot together, brainstorm, etc, it is an ideal chair.  You can relax well in the chair.  But I’m not sold on it as a cubicle chair for a variety of reasons…Let’s go into detail about the good, bad, and my lasting thoughts on the chair…

What’s Good about the chair?

There’s plenty to like.  It’s a nice looking chair – modern, sleek lines, and a nice selection of colors for the back and the seat.  It is VERY green, recycled and recyclable.  It is not an eyesore, and only complements modern work environments. The backrest is the real success story regarding the chair.  It is a mid back, meaning, for 99% of the population, the backrest is not going to provide support above the shoulders, and for most won’t reach the shoulder height.  But with this chair, that’s ok.  The flexing back material (seemingly made of a rubber composite) has no frame on the back, which allows for flexing in a wide range of motion, particularly nice for stretching or turning around, (albeit you could just swivel around) and talking to co-workers rather easily.  The backrest is also comfortable, not a hard plastic, and molds well to your back shape.

Add in the optional lumbar support and you get sufficient lower back support. Won’t relieve back pain, but won’t cause it either.  Essentially, the motion the backrest allows is good – I’m just a little skeptical about how much we would use it, and the price vs. functionality that an innovative feature like this commands.

And the not so good?

Unfortunately, there is one area where the Generation Chair takes a step back to the previous generation.  It was uncomfortable enough to spoil the uniqueness and comfort of the Back – the Seat.  It seems in designing and implementing the back, Knoll forgot that the seat is where our all day pressure is.  It really was not comfortable for me, right off the bat.  The seat has a thin foam cushion which is upholstered on what seemed to be a plastic seat pan – not solid plastic, but plastic strips.  I could feel those within 5 minutes of sitting on it. Not ideal.

The foam itself is not soft, rather firm, but even so, the thinness of it was quite surprising.  The seat does have a seat slider, but in using it, I encountered another issue.  I adjusted the seat pan a bit forward (I am 5’7″, 145 lbs.) but not much.  After re-sitting on the adjusted seat, I felt towards the back of the seat two hard pressure points.   It felt like two little blocks of wood on my buttocks.  Not comfortable at all.  I sat in another Generation (the showroom at Neocon must’ve had over 50 Generations) and felt the same issue.  So I asked my brother to give it a whirl.  He is 5’11″, 195 lbs, and he immediately remarked, “What is that?!”.  It was disappointing, to say the least, to have experienced this.  We sit on the seat of the chair on average 8 hours a day, and are not always leaning against the back.  This is why the seat is THE most critical part of the chair, and the easiest to make comfortable.  Knoll simply forgot how to on this chair, and the chair lost all long term comfort value for us.  From being a nice innovative task chair, the way the seat felt immediately moved it into the “1-2 hour meeting chair mode”.

Update: Knoll apparently offers a thicker seat cushion at no extra charge.  I would recommend this.  I don’t know how it feels, since we weren’t told at the showroom which ones had it, but I can imagine with the thicker cushion it would be much better.  If the thick cushion makes it so you don’t feel the plastic straps, then it would be a much better task chair – it would be worth the price at that point.

What’s the price?

We don’t know the price – the chair doesn’t release until July 15th, but were told at NeoCon by Knoll representatives that the chair will be retailing from $750 to upwards of $1000.00 USD, depending on the options selected, such as arms, leathers, lumbar support, etc.

Grade:

For a task chair, to sit in 8 hours a day and hash out emails, etc, it is not the ideal chair.  The seat will kill you and really be painful after 4 hours, especially if you are heavier.  Combine that with the estimated price, and the chair becomes, in our opinion, overrated.  As a conference, meeting room chair for informal settings, for a modern workspace where employees don’t have to sit 8 hours a day, it could be a nice chair.  It would look nice anywhere, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel nice everywhere.  And you need that in a chair, we think. Thus the 3 – a pricey, sub-par chair with a great and unique backrest.

Update: It would get 4-5 “chairs” if you got the chair with the upgraded seat cushion, which would minimalize the seat cushion issue.  But I don’t know for sure whether 4 or 5, since I’ve only sat on it with the thin seat cushion.  If anyone has one with a thick cushion, let us know what your value assessment of the chair is!

Office Chair Review: Inertia Mesh High Back Chair

Three Sweet Features:

1. Stylish Mesh colors to go with Fabrics.

2. Thick, plush padded seat.

3. Many additional options available!

The Thorough Review:

The Inertia is a great line of chairs. Within the family of Inertia Mesh Office Chairs, you will find the reviewed high back, the mid back, the executive, and side chairs. Really, the Inertia has a mesh chair for any need, allowing to any user to completely customize their office space to look contemporary and matching with one product line. As a bonus, the Inertia can be upholstered in various different mesh finishes, which greatly enhances the options one can have with the chair, as opposed to the more conventional and not as fun black mesh.

The Inertia Mesh High Back Chair looks simple. It is clean and elegant and modern, but that doesn’t mean it limits itself in comfort or ergonomic capability. The chair features a built in passive lumbar support, meaning the back (which is highly durable polyester mesh wrapped around a steel tubular frame) is contoured at the lumbar region to provide a built in support structure for the lumbar.

The chair also features various add-ons/upgrades that provide for a more ergonomic sit. The chair can be outfitted with a seat slider, and the seat can be created with Memory Foam for extra soft comfort. As well, with 3 different arm options, you can choose the arms that suit your needs best, whether it be standard arms, or fully rotating arms!

Overall, this is a very modern and stylish chair that does not leave comfort behind. It combines all these features in a very nice package as a high quality, mid priced ergonomic office chair!

The Ratings:

Durability:
A very durable chair from a very durable company. Rated for 325 lbs, and with a lifetime warranty.

Adjust-ability:
Nothing flashy. Up, down, seat slider, infinite tilt lock. Just enough for anyone to adjust and everyone to be comfortable.

Style:
One of the nicest looking chairs we’ve seen…Very stylish and modern and the optional mesh colors make the chair customizable to any color scheme!

Overall Rating (Not an average):
Kinda wish it had an adjustable lumbar support, but as far as modern chairs go, it is one of a kind. Perfect for management applications where a common style is necessary – a chair that will have everyone sitting in comfort and style.

Want to know more about how we rate chairs? Check out our Ratings Guide!

Office Chair Review: Cherryman Respond 3.1

Three Sweet Features:

1. Sleek, modern design with chrome accents

2. Ergonomic knee tilt with seat slider

3. Leather seat and nice mesh back

The Thorough Review:

The Cherryman Respond 3.1 Mesh Office Chair with Leather seat is a very nice modern mesh chair.  Not fully mesh, it features a thick leather seat that complements the mesh back nicely.  It adds both style and comfort to the chair, and, with the chrome base and accents, combine to make a high end, luxury modern office chair at at mid-market price.

Featuring a seat slider, back height adjustment, and a 2:1 ergonomic knee tilt mechanism, the chair features all the ergonomic necessities to more than appropriately qualify as a quality ergonomic chair.  It has an adjustable lumbar support and height and width adjustable arms too, covered in a “Soft Touch” polyurethane armpad.

The back height is tall enough to be able to pass as a modern managers chair, or low enough to work capably as a task chair in an modern environment.  The chair sits nice.  The aforementioned leather seat is not plush, but rather a tad firm – just how you want a good ergonomic task chair to be.  The back mesh is nice, as it conforms well to majority of users and is firm enough to provide ample upper and lower back support.  It’s breathability is nice too.  Overall, the Cherryman Respond 3.1 is a stylish and very modern ergonomic office chair for any office environment.

The Ratings:

Fit:
The chair fits well. The mid-back with its ratched back ensures most people will fit well in it. It is only rated up to 250 lbs though.

Adjust-ability:
Very adjustable. Has most every ergonomic adjustment needed.

Style:
It is a good looking chair. That’s the bottom line. Clean lines and nice design.

Overall Rating (Not an average):
Overall, a good ergonomic chair. Competes at a great price point. The relative inexperience of the manufacturer in the chair business (they’ve done desks for years) gives us pause where longevity is concerned, but the chair features a good warranty.

Want to know more about how we rate chairs? Check out our Ratings Guide!

Office Chair Review: Aaria Office Habanera Leather Office Chair

Three Sweet Features:

1. Soft Dual layer Caressoft Faux Leather.

2. Chrome or Black Frame and Base.

3. Modern and stylish design with a big seat and back.

The Thorough Review:

Spicy hot is the Habanera High Back Executive Chair from Aaria Office Seating!  This leather office chair (well, faux leather, since it is upholstered in Caressoft Plus, an ultra durable, ultra soft combination of leather and vinyl – here are the differences between Caressoft and Leather) is a great choice for someone looking to get a good looking chair that is comfortable and has that “plush” feel to it.

Here’s whats nice about the Habanera Series – the price won’t leave your wallet burning 5 hours after you buy it.  You can get is in a stylish chrome frame or a sleek powder coated black frame and base.  It comes in a high back OR a mid back, as well as a matching guest chair – so no need to mix up the office with different styles and brands anymore…

The chair itself sits really nice.  It is a big chair, wide seat and large, enveloping backrest.  The double layered cushion, which has a horizontally seamed 1.5 inch thick cover on the high density foam cushions, add the extra oomph to the sitting experience, really allowing the sitter to sink into the chair and feel hugged.  It is a hot leather office chair…ready to make you feel comfortable for years.

The Ratings:

Plushness:

It’s plush and forgiving. You’ll sink in and be comfortable in a conference room or behind a desk.

Adjust-ability:

Not much there. Height adjustment, tilt locking. That’s about it, but not much more needed for a conference chair.

Style:

Its a good looking, if not unique, chair. Different, but not in an Pontiac Aztec way.

Overall Rating (Not an average):

It’s a good quality faux leather office chair. Big and plush, with just enough style points. The only issue we’ve seen is if you sit wide legged, the arms, being metal, might bother you. But if you sit properly, it’s great.

Want to know more about how we rate chairs? Check out our Ratings Guide!