Review: Knoll ReGeneration Desk Chair

It’s difficult to get excited about office chairs. Especially now, with study after study claiming that sitting all day is killing you, and with every reputable source advising you to spend more time standing up and moving around than you spend sitting.

I’ve read all those articles, too, and I do plan on switching to a standing workstation very soon. I’ve even selected all the parts to convert my desk. So the irony is not lost on me that I’ve spent the last three months sitting in what is easily the most comfortable office chair I’ve ever used. It’s like a bad movie where the man meets the woman of his dreams on the eve of his wedding to another bride.

My little homewrecker of a desk chair is called the Knoll ReGeneration. It’s the furniture giant’s latest addition to its line of mesh-backed desk chairs with the Generation name — we reviewed the premium model last year.

Compared to the company’s previous Generation design, the ReGeneration is lighter, more compact, and less expensive. Knoll has also upped the treehugger quotient; the elastomer net on the back of the chair makes use of corn by-products, and the foam in the seat cushion is partially sourced from soy-based materials. The structural design is also very minimal, using as little plastic as possible and eschewing the shell that manufacturers commonly use to cover the innards. Almost half of each ReGeneration is made from recycled materials when you add it all up (44 percent if you choose the plastic base, and 48 percent if you choose the aluminum base, according to Knoll).

This eco-minded approach extends all the way down to how it’s packaged and shipped. It comes in two halves that squeeze into a remarkably compact box, and it weighs less than 30 pounds. The environmental gains here are obvious: more of the chairs can be stuffed into a shipping container, and it’s less impactful to get one delivered to your door.

Assembly is a no-brainer — just insert the barrel into the base, where it clicks into place — and adjustments are equally simple. Beneath the seat are the levers you’d expect for adjusting the height and seat depth, and for locking the reclining mechanism.

My favorite bit of adjustment, however, is the optional lumbar support found on the back of my loaner. It’s a rigid plate that’s split vertically down the centerline by what looks like an oversized plastic zipper. To adjust the point where the support is the stiffest, move the zipper up and down.

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