So often do we take for granted the humble chair, as it is very easy to forget that most great ideas have been conceived whilst reclined. It is also easy to overlook the fact that we have had sitting-down technology for thousands of years and yet we still have uncomfortable seats. So without further ado, it is time that we turned a more critical eye to the chairs of Lewis & Clark.
The place to start with is the matte black workhorse that I am sure we are all familiar with. This plastic and metal construction, usually paired with an armrest desk, is probably the most ubiquitous seating solution on campus. Completely unassuming and elegant in its simplicity, this is a chair that will get the job done. The seat is especially comfortable as it has a very well molded butt groove.
That said, this seat is not perfect. The backrest reclines too far for my taste. This would not be an issue if it were able to support weight without sending one careening backwards towards oblivion. Also, the desks that come with them might as well be decorative given how impractical they are. God forbid you need to put more than one thing on your desk at a time because you only get four square inches to work with.
6/10 – I have sat in better.
Up next is a chair that I have only ever seen in the Symbolic and Quantitative Reasoning Center in J.R. Howard. The seat itself is made of blue plastic, but it has metal legs and castor wheels. Similar to its matte black cousin, I can only describe the butt groove as refined. Unfortunately, this chair falls short when it comes to the backrest. I found it to be at an incredibly odd angle and could not quite settle into it properly. The chair forces a very sharp upright position, so far as to even be leaned slightly forward.
6/10 – Unimpressed.
We move now to the six-wheeled, spinny chair desks. These can be found in J.R. Howard 135 and can be identified by their aura of pretentiousness. I will give credit where credit is due: The seat itself is comfortable; not life-changing mind you, just comfortable. Beyond that, I do not have any other nice things to say about this chair.
This chair is gimmicky, but not in an endearing way. The desk has a wide degree of movement, but every position within that scope is not at all comfortable to work with. It has more wheels than some other wheeled LC chairs, but it still does not roll quickly. You could use the wheelbase under the seat as additional storage, but it seems less practical than simply using the ground next to you. Call me conservative, but I feel like all the additional moving parts only add an air of gaudiness to what should otherwise be a simple activity, i.e. sitting down.
7.5/10 – It means well.
If you would now follow me to Aubrey R. Watzek Library, I have some more chairs I would like to talk about. The library is home to many chairs, and some of them are even worth sitting in. The basic wooden chairs on the first floor are not. The seat is angled way too far forward, so I was very slowly sliding off the end, and the back is way too upright. It is clear that these chairs do not want to be sat in.
3/10 – At least it has armrests.
A genus of chair that is worth sitting in at the library are the yellow spinny fellows situated near the tables on the first floor. My experience with these was the most pleasant of surprises. The pad on the seat is mushy enough to be comfortable, but not too mushy as to be overbearing. Despite their minimalist appearance, the armrests on this chair are possibly its strongest feature. They support your elbow very well while you are upright, yet they still allow the unencumbered use of your arms. This chair gently encourages a focused but comfortable posture.
9/10 – Solid.
We have reached the end of this article but there are still so many chairs yet to be reviewed. I have sinned and I have not yet paid my penance in full. Brace yourself for part two in the next issue.
Illustration by Zach Reinker