Branded Office Chairs Part 6: Knoll Top 3 – Chadwick, Life And Generation

Welcome back to part 6 of our look at branded chairs. This week we taking a look at the top 3 offerings from Knoll a long established and respected seating manufacturer. In particular we are going to dig deeper into its Life, Chadwick and Generation chairs.

So let's get started and first up is the Life chair.

Life chair
Knoll's Life chair first appeared in 2002 developed in conjunction with New Zealand designers Formway Design.

Knoll Life

Knoll Life Chair

The aim was to produce a chair that took care of adjustments automatically. This has been achieved by building in self adjusting components wherever possible.

So, as you recline in the chair there is no need to change the tension. Instead the chair recognizes the user's weight and provides the right amount of support to handle you movements comfortably. Likewise when you lean forwards to work, no need to adjust anything, once again the chair moves as you move.

And, just in case you want to fine tune the automatic adjustments there is a tension preference selector at the rear of the base of the chair.

The Life also has a seat depth adjuster too, making it straightforward to set the seat to the correct length for your legs. It also has a high tech mesh weave back providing good support and air circulation.

Next let's move on to the Chadwick chair.

Chadwick chair
When Knoll joined forces with legendary chair designer Don Chadwick its aim once again was to produce a chair that was simple to use.

Chadwick chair

Knoll Chadwick Chair Back

So this meant an absence of the usual confusing array of levers and knobs. And of course it had to be comfortable and functional too.

The end result is an office chair that once you have set the basics up you are good to go from there. This is possible through what's referred to as its Active Suspension system. It starts with a tension control on the underside which the user adjusts to suit their body weight. Once this is set the chair automatically supports you as you work.

Key to making this happen is the specialist mesh fabric which is carefully tensioned and precision welded to to the seat and back. This provides a springy resilience and molds to your body as you move, giving great long term working comfort.

As well as being a workstation chair, it's also designed for use in training and conference areas too.

And with the option of 3 different sizes of gas lift height adjuster the chair works well whether you are of short, medium or tall build.

Lastly it's time to look at Knoll's most recent addition its Generation chair.

Generation chair
Generation was developed with Formway Design and launched at NeoCon in 2009 winning a Gold Award for task chair seating.

generation chair

Generation Chair Showing Flex Back

Again the emphasis is on ease of use, however the Generation takes things a stage further. It's designed to encourage you to sit how you want.

So if you feel like sitting sideways in the chair for a while it will let you do that in comfort. This has been made possible in a number of ways.

First the seat pad flexes side to side. As you apply more weight the seat gives to accommodate you and yet still supports your body.

The adjustable arms not only adjust in height, but also in width and angle too. The wide variety of positions are quick and easy to set meaning you can use them in more ways than conventional arms.

The open cell flexible back acts as a great support and at the same time yields and moves as you move. The top edge of the back moves as you apply pressure. So if you feel like leaning over the back of the chair while you rest your arms the back will move with you folding down by up to 90° if necessary.

There are also 3 choices of gas lift to suit short, medium and tall users.

As Knoll says “It's not a chair it's a movement”


  • Life chair automates most of the adjustments as you sit and move
  • Life chair lets you fine tune settings via its tension preference selector
  • Chadwick chair has a springy resilient feel and molds to your body in use
  • Chadwick is also great for training and conference use
  • Generation lets you sit how you want to sit
  • Generation's flexible back will comfortably support a wide range of different sitting postures

Further information
Here are links to the full reviews:

And here are links to the five previous articles in this series:

  1. Herman Miller top 3 branded office chairs
  2. Steelcase top 3 branded office chairs
  3. Humanscale top 3 branded office chairs
  4. HÅG top 3 branded office chairs
  5. Neutral Posture top 3 branded office chairs



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