Product: Generation by Knoll
Price: $897 (w/polished base, high performance arms options)
Rating: Strong Recommend*
It's not often you commend something for being "hardly there", but that's exactly what we noticed a few hours in while working from the Generation by Knoll, a chair designed with an innovate flex-back suspension system whose physical features reflects Knoll's goal of creating a seating option equally flexible for a variety of situational use in a work environment (or in our case, the home office). After weeks of use, we can now report if this new design is a generation forward or reveals a generation gap when it comes to workplace comfort.
Initially our review unit would crack sharply from the wheel/base section when shifting, but the sound disappeared after a few days of use and has since been very silent and might have been due to the hard wheel option our chair came with (a hardwood soft wheel option is available). Operationally, everything worked well and we didn't need to change settings once getting comfortable in the chair after initial fiddling, so in everyday use the plastic controls were a non-factor.
With the ability to flex up to 270 degrees, the chair is especially adept at times when you need to pivot around to talk or glance back around. Recline angles can be controlled with a lever, alongside the position of the seat cushion. Our review unit also came equipped with the adjustable arms, which we highly recommend for mousing and keyboard use.
As mentioned earlier, the Generation quickly proved to be ergonomically comfortable to work in for long hour stretches, disappearing from thought and adjusting adeptly to our various seated posture throughout the day and evening. If you're someone who likes to change positions throughout the day, the Generation is your chair, capable of adjusting to front and sideways seating. Our old reliable Steelcase Leap has done great service for countless hours as our primary task seating, but comparatively the Generation feels more comfortable (though construction-wise, we still believe the Steelcase feels more solid), despite less material and less plush seating area. The flexibility and lightweight materials afford more fluid motion when turning, sitting back or getting in and out of the chair, affording us a more comfortable long-term sensation (or lack thereof).
Knoll doesn't advertise the Generation as a true long-hour task chair, marketing it against the similar "less is more" design of the Herman Miller Setu; categorically, these are occasional task chair that can be dragged into a meeting room as occasional seating, informal meetings and also for easy collaborative work environments. But after using the Generation in a mostly solo home office environment, the Generation can't be ignored as a strong candidate for home office use also. The compact size, the airy-flexible support, adaptable personality, and the chair's strong eco-friendly construction make it a solid contender as your next task chair. Especially so since the Generation can be had for reasonable prices online with a little Google footwork.
Cons: Arm surface could be a tad softer; audible cracking sound when shifting weight or getting into or out of chair at wheel/base; may not be recommended for people who like extremely firm/adjustable backs due to integrated flex back design.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.