The Generation by Knoll, introduced in 2009, has won several design awards, and is based on what Knoll calls "elastic design." It is flexible enough to allow a person to turn to the side or even face backward with full support from the chair. Most adjustments are automatic, but you can manually adjust the seat height and depth as well as the tilt angle and tension. It is available in a range of colors and materials, including mesh, fabric and leather. Options include height-adjustable (*Est. $130) or fully adjustable (*Est. $195) arms. It comes with a 10-year warranty.
We found no comparative reviews of the Generation by Knoll. However, we did find single-product reviews by people who have tried the chair out: expert reviewers on Wired.com and Bloomberg Businessweek, and a staff member on retail site SitBetter.com. Reviews from other experts appear in Interior Design magazine, as well as CNNMoney.com and Contract magazine.
Maren Jinnett describes her experience with the Generation chair by Knoll, which she tried out in her office. She notes that it is designed to adjust to the user's movements and to accommodate a wide range of movement. Jinnett finds the "elastomer" material the chair is made of a little hard to get used to, since it reacts to her slightest move. However, she did get accustomed to it and says that "after a week sitting in the Generation, our regular chair actually felt so confining, so unable to move as we moved and in the way we wanted to, that it was almost like getting back into a straightjacket." The one problem she notes is that the lumbar support is hard to adjust.
Review: Generation by Knoll Chair Moves With You, Maren Jinnett, May 15, 2009
2. Bloomberg Businessweek
Reviewer Reena Jana tried out the Generation chair for a few weeks before writing this review. The review describes the research that Knoll did before designing the chair; according to Jana they determined that people in offices typically sit in different positions depending on the type of work they're doing at the moment. The Generation chair was designed to accommodate each of these positions comfortably, moving as the person sitting in it moves. Jana found it quite comfortable, and muses that chairs are getting so comfortable that people may not move around as much as they should for their own health.
Review: Knoll's New "Generation" Chair: Stylish Engineering and Comfort, Reena Jana, May 29, 2009
3. Interior Design magazine
At the end of each year, Interior Design magazine chooses the best products introduced that year. Products are evaluated by a team of designers and architects. For 2009, the Generation chair by Knoll wins the overall Best of the Year award in the Contract/Task Seating category. The editors of the magazine point out that the Generation chair "takes elastic design--where a product rearranges itself in response to its user--to a new level."
Review: Best of the Year 2009 -- Seating Contract/Task, Editors of Interior Design magazine, Dec. 1, 2009
This video review by Jonathan Blum focuses on two high-end office chairs, the Herman Miller Embody and the Generation by Knoll. Blum points out that the Generation chair is less expensive than the Embody chair, and uses the principle of "flexible design." Although he thinks it looks a little funky, Blum finds the design concept an interesting idea and wonders how the market will react to it. He says that both of these chairs are worth their prices.
Review: Cozy Chairs for the Office, Jonathan Blum, Jun 25, 2009
5. Contract magazine
Architect/designer Florencia Kratsman reviews the Generation chair by Knoll as well as of two other chairs, although it's not clear whether she has tried them out or is just responding to their design. She notes that with the Generation, "Knoll identified that people sit in different positions and designed a chair to accommodate." She also notes that its design allows it to fit into different types of decors and that since it comes in a range of colors, you can either let it fade into the background or use it as an accent.
Review: Designers Rate Ergonomic Seating, Florencia Kratsman
This thorough review describes the Knoll Generation chair's strong point as its seatback, made of an elastic mesh material that Knoll calls "elastomer." However, the Generation chairs have thin seat cushions that this reviewer found very uncomfortable. He notes in an addendum to the review that you can get a thicker seat cushion, which he recommends. In the end, this reviewer thinks the Generation chair would be a good chair for a conference room or another environment where people would be moving around in their seats a lot, but not necessarily a good chair for an office cubicle.
Review: Office Chair Review: Knoll Generation Chair, "Alec", June 17, 2009