Lifeform® Ultimate Executive High Back Office Chair
Product Review (submitted on January 14, 2013):
I've been sitting in this chair essentially 40 hours a week for the past year, sometimes going 8 hours straight in it. I have to be honest, I've never sat in a chair I could stand to be seated in for 8 solid hours without discomfort being the reminder I need to get up and walk around. It's that comfortable of a chair.
If I could give the Quality 4.5 stars, I would, only because I'm disappointed in the stitching of the product. I should preface this by stating I owned an upholstery shop in the past, so I know I little about stitching. The Brisa simulated leather (free upgrade a year ago, still a free upgrade today) is soft yet far more durable than I imagined it would be. Brisa is a somewhat high end fabric frequently used on nicer office furniture and marine interior seating by luxury boat builders. I've personally never owned anything long term that used this fabric so I was skeptical, but a free upgrade sounded like a good reason to give it a chance and I'm glad I did.
I am disappointed with the stitching on the arm rests though. While double stitched for strength, the layout of the fabric and decision of where to put the stitching chosen puts the primary stitching (most pressure on this seam) at a terrible place as the threads are exposed on the corner of the cushion. As a result, one year later I can see things starting to fray where my elbows and forearms rub at it constantly throughout the day. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say in another 3-4 years the fabric on these arm rests will need replaced as the seam will eventually tear due to the location of the seam putting too much pressure on the fabric in this fashion. I strongly suspect that the chair will last 5 years before that day will come, but if the chair is still as comfortable after 5 years as I find it to be after 1, I wouldn't complain about having to redo the arms of the chair when they wear out, hopefully many years down the road. If someone were to come into my shop and ask me to recover these arms, I'd likely be able to do both for $200 if they wanted them redone in the original (and expensive) Brisa fabric which runs around $70 a yard.
The only other design flaw in my opinion is the fact that the arm rest pads are not fixed in one position regarding which way they point. Basically they can be moved to swing in towards your midsection while typing or away so when you stand up your hips don't drag going through the narrower opening that creates. The height adjustment can of course be fixed to many different heights, but the arms themselves twist side to side. It's nice to be able to angle them in for maximum support when typing, or point them straight ahead during a meeting where you are just resting your arms straight in front of you, but it seems like they're never where you want them to be when typing since when you move in the chair they typically move themselves randomly with you. I bet I adjust the direction these are pointed between 30-40 times a day and its second nature now so it's hardly annoying, but I would prefer having the option to lock them in one position for a length of time or at least adjust the tension so you could control how much pressure it takes for them to move in / out. Having taken them apart already to see what could be done, I can confirm they're not adjustable in any manner.
The foam in the chair is very high quality in addition to being extremely comfortable. This chair is in a home office, and honestly is the most comfortable seat in my home. Given that my 220 lbs. is seated in it 40-50 hours a week, I'm impressed with the foam not degrading at all over the first year of ownership.
As the owner of an upholstery shop, I'm rather critical of my furnishings and the materials / craftsmanship of what I purchase, but I would recommend this product. Even if the armrests eventually burst at the seams in another 2-3 years, any decent upholsterer with a conscious shouldn't charge more than $150 to recover both pieces with the original (expensive) fabric to get you another handful of years.
Patience is key when purchasing these chairs however, I was a little disappointed with the level of communication from the Pittsburgh location as it took well over 3 weeks for the two chairs we purchased to come in. While it was a painful wait, literally because of our worn out old chairs, it's been one of the best purchases I've made in my opinion.