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chair

Reviewed: Freedom chair — pricey perfection

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of... More

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At roughly US$950, the Freedom chair from HumanScale isn’t for the the average office bum. No, the Freedom chair is a take-no-prisoners, ultra-comfy piece of office equipment miles apart from standard crappy seating. It’s a goddamn evolution of the chair and it would be one of the smartest purchases you ever make.

Goodbye manual adjustments

The issue with chairs is that they are not made for the human body. Here’s my personal experience with office chairs:

Arrive in the morning, sit down. Adjust. Readjust. The day goes on and my ass begins to numb. My back pains from leaning over and staring into the monitor. As the azure-blue sky turns to a blood-red hue, my back, ass and neck have had enough. This happens on a daily basis.

And then the Freedom chair arrived. It’s not a drop-dead gorgeous piece of equipment, but it is functional beyond belief.

It begins with the armrests. In practice, armrests are an afterthought in chair design. With the Freedom, the armrests are crucial to overall comfort. The material screams posh, but I hate it when I’m being shouted at so I have to mark the material down for not being leather. If I’m going to stink of wealth, I need the raw animal hide to back it up. It’s easy to adjust the height of the armrests; just grip and pull up or push down. Done.

Headrest poses a problem

The headrest is a tricky little minx, and I don’t know whether to lambaste or praise it. When I’m reclining, the headrest works well by supporting my neck at a tricky angle. But when I’m seated upright, I have to move my neck back into the headrest and that’s damn awkward to say the least. It’s height adjustable, but that doesn’t seem to help its case.

The chair itself is the overall winner. The seat is beyond comfortable and moulds into my pert behind. My back is fully supported by the seat and as I sway back and forth, I can feel the seat adjusting to my spine. It’s a pretty amazing feeling and ensures that I’ll always have a back pain-free experience. Now if only that damnable headrest could play along with the chair.

As with 99% of office chairs, height is controlled by a lever on the bottom of the seat. It’s all smooth-sailing in this department. In other words, it does the job and does it well.

What else? Nothing much really, it’s just a bad-ass office chair and it’s called Freedom. Here’s the rub though, and it’s like rubbing salt into an open, festering wound. The chair retails for US$1000 or more if you buy it firsthand. This is an unnecessary price but consider this: back-pain. Do you have it? If yes, then this is the chair for you. For those who said no or are just looking for a slightly comfy chair, there’s thousands of cheaper options to choose from.

So yes, I’ll recommend the Freedom chair, but it squeaks by on the skin of its faux-leather teeth. Also, it makes the user look super-bossy. Grab it from Humanscale if you’re keen.


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