“ Brand: John Lewis / Type: Chair „
As my husband is a maths tutor we have to decorate our study fairly smartly to impress the paying clients and their parents. After the chair that his students usually sit on fell apart quite spectacularly, I started looking for a black leather chair to match the existing one that was in the study. I needed something reasonably cheap but still robust. Ideally I was looking for a swivel chair, as this seems to take some of the energy out of the most fidgety and wriggly pupils; swivelling from side to side frantically as they solve equations seems to make the hour pass a little quicker.
I kept my eye out for a bargain for several months and then one day found the Potter chair in the bargain basement of John Lewis, reduced from £99 to £50. Although this leather and chrome swivel chair is advertised as a dining chair, it was the perfect solution to my need for a second office chair for the study, looking completely suitable for a smart desk chair.
As I found the chair in the reduced section, it was ready assembled and I only had to pick it up and walk to the car with it.
The chair is a fairly modern and simple design; its simplicity gives it a certain amount of elegance and it certainly looks a lot classier than the traditional leather office chair that sits next to it.
It is basically a chair in two parts; the top part consists of a simple leather seat and back, moulded into one piece and curving ergonomically to fit into the small of the users back. The bottom is a large based and gleaming chrome pedestal.
The lack of arms on this chair adds to the elegance as well as making it very suitable for pushing forward to sit under a desk or dining table. I find that my older office chair, which does have arms, cannot be pushed forward under the desk in the same way.
Although I (and John Lewis) describe this as a leather chair, the seat is in fact protected with a leather-look covering. This covering attaches itself to the foam padded seat by strong Velcro, which is almost undetectable unless you turn the chair upside down. I am not entirely certain if this easily removed leather-look cover provides any advantage. It obviously cannot be put in the washing machine to be cleaned, so I find it difficult to understand why it should be attached with Velcro rather than permanently sewn onto the chair. In any case, the Velcro is strong and of good quality, and the seat covering never moves or slips.
A label underneath the seat tells me that the chair is made in Denmark and that the seat and cover are all match and cigarette resistant. Obviously not an issue for my husband's young clients but good to know all the same.
The chair can be dismantled for transport; it has four nuts which attach the base securely to the seat. I know that they can be separated as the word 'Front' is written on the front of the pedestal.
The circular bottom of the pedestal has a ring of plastic which protects laminate or wooden floors from scratches and also keeps the chair stable. The bottom of the pedestal is 45cm in diameter which makes it very safe and stable as you spin around.
The chair really has to stay in one place - it is very difficult to push it backwards as it is heavy and the plastic ring resists any attempts to slide it across flooring. Therefore sitting down must make use of the swivel action as you slide into place and once there it is difficult to move.
~~Comfort and durability~~
The seat is surprisingly uncomfortable; not as padded as a normal office chair, but perhaps more typical of a dining chair. The position is very upright, supporting the back through the curved back of the chair and allowing the sitters bottom to sit right back into the rear of the seat. The depth of the seat also allows you to sit comfortably, right back into the chair; the seat is 39cm deep and curves very pleasantly at the edge, where the knees are. The position makes it ideal for eating a meal without slouching.
The back of the chair is 42cm high which gives a very good support and comes to the middle of my shoulder blades. The seat height is 50.5cm which makes it a little high for most of the tables that we have, and I would be more comfortable on something a little lower.
In terms of durability, the chair does not come out well. The chrome pedestal base scratches easily and after about 6 months ours is full of tiny scratches which can be easily seen in good light. I believe that this was the reason why the chair was reduced in the first place; in the bargain basement where I found it there were around 10 identical chairs, all scratched in varied degrees on the pedestal. Although this did not bother me too much with the 50% discount, I still took some time looking at all of them and choosing the one which appeared to be least scratched.
I find myself a bit uncertain as I try to draw a conclusion about this seat. As usual for John Lewis, it is sturdy and well made; every material and finishing is of quality. However, the chrome pedestal was a weak design fault and can lead to the chair looking tatty and old before its time. In addition it really is not that comfortable; its upright position and minimal upholstery making it fine for a short while, but a bit uncomfortable for any longer period of time.
As a dining chair this may not be a problem, although in our house our friends love to sit around the dining table for hours after a meal, chatting and drinking. As an office chair I would say that it lacks the extra features that could make hours at the computer or desk a bit easier.
In conclusion I would say that it is perhaps not really fit for either purpose; too glamorous and glitsy for a dining chair and not comfortable enough for a desk chair, it disappoints on both counts.