La-Z-Boy® 45776 Cantania ComfortCore® Innovations AIR(TM) Technology Executive Office Chair – Coffee (Brown) ★★★★☆
I’ve spent the last fourteen years or so sitting at a desk in a professional environment, longer in an educational and personal one. I’ve gone through several different chairs in that time, but none as supportive as the La-Z-Boy Cantania. I didn’t realize how shot my old office chair was until upgrading. Let me just say that the cushion on this chair is amazing.
I’m a big fan of memory foam — I have it in both my pillow and my shoes — but too much of it can be a bad thing. For instance, I never did feel comfortable on an all memory foam mattress; I just sunk down too far and wasn’t relaxed. On top of that the temperature-sensitive foam can be finicky in different room temperatures. The slow spring back material acts as a sponge, making it hard to keep clean, and removing water a nightmare. That said, La-Z-Boy used a good mixture of the polyfiber-fill (91% polyurethane foam pad and 9% polyester fiber batting), with four different layers in the seat. There is some give but also some resistance, making sitting soft yet firm and comfortable, and the leather upholstery keeps the water away.
It took me approximately ten minutes to unpack the chair and thirty minutes to assemble. The Allen wrench provided is actually quite nice; instead of the traditional L-shape, it has a thick T-shaped handle that is much easier to torque the screws with. May seem like a small feature, but it saves time and pain on your fingers and wrist. If you are assembling this in an office setting without extra tools on hand, this may prove to be a pleasant surprise.
Speaking of surprises, I was startled to find that there is very little metal used in this chair. For instance, the metal looking legs (5-star base) and metallic painted arms are actually a dense plastic. I’m honestly not a fan of plastic looking metal; not only does it look cheap up close, but it suffers from durability issues — plastic scratches and scuffs much easier. I found several nicks and marks on it just from unpacking. The nice thing about plastic over metal is that it tends to be lighter, thus making the chair easier to lift. But, personally, I found the plastic a bit disappointing considering the cost of the product.
At my previous job of 13 years, I worked both in the office and at home so I sported two different chair and desk setups. In both cases it was important for me to have a chair that could support my head. As a 6’ tall man, this makes finding the right chair a challenge. The La-Z-Boy Cantania does support my head, but not as well as some of my previous chairs. With the length of my torso, I have to scoot forward and slouch back in order for my neck to touch. When I’m lazy and in a casual gaming mode, this is fine. But when I’m working on a project I need to sit upright. In a sense, this is probably good because I find it forces me to have better posture.
La-Z-Boy claims this is upholstered in a soft bonded leather. Maybe … technically … but I would disagree in a real world environment. I’ve felt soft leather on chairs before, and this ain’t it. The leather is fairly dense and firm; more like a motorcycle jacket. This makes the upholstery strong and sturdy, but not as pleasant against the skin. If you are fully clothed, this isn’t a problem. If you are in shorts or a skirt or a T-shirt your arms and legs may feel it too. But if you work from home and are lazy like I am — sometimes not wearing a shirt — you will feel it even more. It’s not uncomfortable; the padding underneath makes up for that, but it sure does get cold. When initially leaning back against the leather there is a cold shock, but it only takes a few seconds to warm up to my skin, so I bite my lip and take it like a man. Unlike the cloth chairs I’ve owned before, this takes some getting used to. But the image of this chair is very corporate, executive — CEO and President worthy — so they deserve to suffer for their prestige, right? (Plus I doubt they are going shirtless).
Overall, this is a very nice chair. Better in a corporate office setting, but I have nothing against using it in a home office. The lack of durable metal parts is a knock against the quality, but the cushions and support makes up for it. The upholstery contains added flame retardant chemicals, so if you are sitting back and smoking a cigar like a character from Mad Men you can feel at ease. Seriously though, this is a nice chair and the most supportive one I’ve ever owned.