fter relocating the Colorcubic office to Old Town in January, we had planned to outfit our environment with new decor and furnishings; specifically task chairs. I recently discovered that our old chairs were partially made of polyvinyl chloride, otherwise known as PVC or vinyl. Further research had determined that PVC products (more specifically flexible PVC) contains chemicals known as additives that slowly leach out, possibly resulting in health complications. I had also read on the FDA site that the additive DEHP has produced a range of adverse effects in male reproductive systems and production of normal sperm in animals. No tests have been done on human males, but my advice to kung-fu kicking males is to avoid the Macho Sewn Vinyl Groin Guard. Needless to say, all this information made it necessary to upgrade our seating immediately.
Like most modern and aesthetically-inclined design studios, we looked to Herman Miller as a viable solution. No, we didn’t want to be just another card-carrying member of the Aeron Chair club. While the Aeron is a fine chair indeed, it has lost its appeal over the years as a banal solution. I must admit that I only prefer the Executive Aeron with the polished aluminum frame. The other models just fall short of meeting my expectations. Another item that fell short of expectations was our chair budget — at well over a grand a pop, the aluminum Aeron wasn’t an option at the time; neither was the Silver Chair: my Unicorn, the mark of absolute perfection. I shudder as I write this.
Chair criteria included ergonomics, aesthetics, sustainability, and price. After browsing through Design Within Reach, I came upon the Celle Chair (pronounced cella) designed by Jerome Caruso for Herman Miller. Made from 33% recycled content and 99% recyclable, this product immediately caught my eye. At a mid-price of $749 each ($629 on Amazon.com), the Celle was ergonomic, attractive, and Greenguard Certified.
I was initially worried about the comfort of a chair that is constructed mostly of polymer, but the system of cells and loops conforms to the sitter’s body and flexes with movement. Since the Portland DWR didn’t carry the chair in-store, I had to trust in the idea of the chair description and the reputation of Herman Miller. We placed an order and a month later (yes, it takes 4-6 weeks for this product to arrive), we received the pre-assembled chairs in Brownstone (looks brown in online photos but is more of a light graphite in real life) and it was everything as expected, except for the color which had worked out conveniently.
Durably constructed and highly adjustable, it was more comfortable than I had expected. Although the Celle chair is very flexible, it is still very firm. If your butt can’t stand some firmness, then I’d suggest a different chair, or purchase the optional fabric seat covering to alleviate your proctological issues. We did however receive a damaged chair, most likely cracked during the shipment process. I’m not surprised since the chair packaging was crappy as it was placed in a big-ass cardboard box with one small piece of styrofoam on the chair back, all strapped together with plastic strips. The way some UPS delivery guys throw packages around should be a liability. Luckily, DWR has a pretty good return policy and had scheduled to have the chair picked up while a replacement was ordered. Bad news was, we had to wait another several weeks for the sucker to arrive. Why so long, DWR? I wonder if this chair is made to order. Anyway, we have been enjoying our Celle chairs very much and have had no problems. The overall design is not too pretentious, the color Brownstone (or Graystone as I’d like to call it) is attractive, the ergonomics and comfort is copasetic, and the footprint, although wide, won’t domineer your workspace, as long as you’re not working in a cardboard box. And if you are, you’ve got bigger things to worry about.