The Knoll Generation Chair

Test Lab

Product: Knoll Generation Chair
Designer: Formway Design
Price: Starts at $777
Rating: Recommend*

Maxwell and Sara Kate have been sitting in the new Generation Chair for the past month, and they report the task chair is an extremely comfortable task chair. So comfortable, in fact, Maxwell recommends it "for people looking for comfort above all else". It is noticeably less "tasky" than many other chairs, particularly the Embody Chair by Herman Miller (reviewed last year), and it excels in being attractive, comfortable and particularly good for conference or home environments where you don't want too high of a back or something that looks like a fighter-jet gaming seat.

Maxwell continues his review:

With task chairs typing position and back support is key. We both found it a bit too soft for the type of "sit up and type all day" positioning that we're used to, but we had to admit that the flexibility it allows was welcome. It was particularly hard to get the seat back to firmly support us and give us that little push forward that we like, so we're up over our keyboard. The chair does come with an attachment that makes the back firmer, but it was not included in our demo model.

The Generation Chair was designed by the New Zealand company, Formway, to be a much more forgiving chair that would appeal to people in offices that want to sit in many different ways. For this reason, it has a very open shape that invites you to sit forwards, sideways, backwards and lean back into the very soft backing material. The name they've coined for this is "elastic design... where a product rearranges itself in response to its user." The material itself is a high performance elastomer, used in refrigeration hinges, and it makes for a VERY soft, springy back, as well as a top of seat back that can fold over completely when you want to turn around and talk to your neighbor. This type of social thinking is rare with task chairs.

Aesthetically, the Generation chair is nothing to write home about, but the polished metal base is attractive and it can be jazzed up with some of the different color offerings and it certainly won't offend. Many color choices and combinations allow it to colorfully "pop" in an office, or blend in with your home office decor. Again, with the decor they've taken the edge off this chair, so that it really is approachable and not typical office fair.

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TAKEAWAY: At close to $800 - $1,000 all in, this chair stands right in the middle of the pack of high performance task chairs, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a really good, well engineered chair that is "comfortable" and good for the HOME office and less "tasky" settings. This chair is not for those who prefer a. utilitarian, gladiator looks (ie. Aero) and b. really strong lumbar support.

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This elastomer stuff is soooooft and rubbery, but also firm enough to hug your back.
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This was the funny part — the seat really bends down so you can talk over the back of it.
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*Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

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Tech, Task Chairs, Test Lab Reviews

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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