You never know someone until walking a mile in their shoes, and you never know a chair until sitting on it for eight hours. This truth has become self-evident for those of us now working full-time from home. Missing our trusty Herman Miller office chairs, we’ve conscripted sofa cushions, sidewalk finds, dining chairs, and design objects for active duty. Turning our critical eye for design on seating — the bedrock of any home office — Athletics is pleased to share a series of unfiltered WFH chair reviews for your enjoyment and schadenfreude.
Knoll Cesca chair in maple, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1928. Throughout my childhood, four of these chairs, in various degrees of decomposition, were stashed in a mysterious storage space off my dad’s darkroom in our basement, as if he had stolen them in a design store robbery and was keeping them hidden until the heat died down.
5 / 5
Aesthetically, it’s bliss, a perfect marriage of tradition and modernism. The woven backrest and seat (recently replaced) reminds me of Shaker crafts, while the cantilevered design echoes the designer’s iconic brutalist museum on Madison Ave. Functionally, it encourages good posture, with just a little bounce.
Danish modern dining chair. Unsure if legit or a knock-off. Bought it several years ago for $20 off an acquaintance who was moving away (and definitely got comments when I brought said chair home on the subway).
4 / 5
Could be better, could be worse — it’s padded and has a decent back, but too short for my desk set-up! Plus, a screw keeps falling out.
Kevi office chair. I got it a few years ago from a guy who sells antique furniture in Maryland. He said it was from the 70’s. I couldn’t afford a delivery service so he had his friend, an old hippy living on the Upper East Side, bring it up when he drove through Maryland.
3 / 5
Continuous use bent the backrest two days into WFH, so it’s been held together with zip ties and good intentions ever since. Not super comfortable, but really wasn’t expecting to ever use it this extensively after grad school.
Calligaris Congress Chair in chartreuse. Bought in 2012 at a furniture warehouse on Grand Avenue in Chicago.
2 / 5
Eight years ago this seemed cool and comfortable. In 2020, neither are true.
Pink floor cushion from Amazon.
2.5 / 5 for humans
5 / 5 for cats
No frills, donated folding chair with minimal cushioning. Comes in a nifty taupe / chocolate color palette.
2.5 / 5
It doesn’t look particularly good (brown), the cushioning has seen better days, and it was designed for the person at the end of the table, not for a designer sitting at home 24/7 during a pandemic. But I’m safe, and that’s what counts, and to that end I am thankful for this trusty chair.
ErgoErgo Stool in orange. Craigslist pickup from Bushwick.
4 / 5
Great for posture, terrible for lounging, leaning, putting feet up, etc.
I received this meditation bench, made from recycled wood and bike parts, in a raffle at the graduation party of a physicist friend who was moving away to build some kind of laser. It was my second choice as the rat suit was already taken.
4.5 / 5 as a meditation bench
1.5 / 5 as a desk chair
Great for getting zen and working on your inner self; terrible for working at a desk. Bonus points for usefulness as a footrest.