Wit Thintex is made in California and designed to be a new interpretation of an upholstered chair
August 06, 2014
Wit Thintex task chair, Slide Aqua
By Rob Kirkbride, Senior Reporter/Associate Editor MMQB.
This article appears in the 7.28.2014 issue of MMQB.
One of the best parties at NeoCon was hosted by SitOnIt the Monday of the show at Moe’s Cantina, just down the street from the Merchandise Mart. While enjoying a cold drink with a MMQB colleague, we struck up a conversation with a Baltimore office furniture dealer.
Why has SitOnIt been so successful in recent years? The dealer answered without a second’s delay: They have the best products for the best price and give back the most to the dealers who sell them. It is a simple formula, really, but one that some office furniture makers don’t seem to understand.
After testing the SitOnIt Wit Thintex for a few months, I can unequivocally tell you that the company’s success goes well beyond price. It is an excellent chair that is comfortable for marathon work sessions. It is well built, stylish and easy to adjust as well.
Let’s get this straight: It is not the best designed chair in the industry, or is it the most beautiful. But it is damn close in just about every category one might imagine. So when combined with its astonishing price, it is one of the best task chairs you can buy. Suggested list pricing for Wit Thintex highback with basic Synchro mechanism, height adjustable arms, black base and grade 1 textile is $535. Wit Thintex Midback lists for $516.
Wit Thintex is made in California and designed to be a new interpretation of an upholstered chair. The revival of the upholstered chair is one of the silent trends to come out of NeoCon. In addition to the Wit Thintex, Knoll also launched its Remix chair. There is a movement in the industry to create the upholstered chairs that designers want with the technology of a mesh chair embedded in it.
Just how good is the Wit Thintex? Having covered the office furniture industry for more than 15 years, my family usually greets the delivery of task chairs to our home with a yawn. They doesn’t get excited about furniture anymore. Yet a funny thing happened when the Wit Thintex made its appearance: Family members kept stealing it from my office. Given their ambivalence for office furniture, the Thintex thievery was telling.
They were going out of their way to sit in this chair, something that has never happened with other office chairs that have crossed our threshold. They have choices as well, some from manufacturers that have much stronger design heritage and designer street credibility. That didn’t seem to matter to them. Since they don’t know the difference between a Vitra and a Herman Miller; a Steelcase chair form a Haworth, it was a blind test for my family. They all loved sitting in the Wit Thintex, so much so that I had to drag it from behind their desks when it went missing from mine.
It is the company’s modern interpretation of the traditional upholstered chair. SitOnIt promises that the new Wit Thintex provides all the comfort, support and initial soft “pillow feel” of a 2-inch thick upholstered back in a thin contemporary design. The company delivers on its promise.
I have to make a confession. I like upholstered chairs. One of my all-time favorites is the Herman Miller Ergon 2. It is decidedly unsexy, mushy, doughy and uninspiring. Still, it sits like a dream (to this day). Isn’t that what a chair is all about?
So I welcome the upholstered revival. There is something to be said about a chair that lets designers get creative with fabric instead of colored molded plastic bits. It is wonderful to have the support of mesh, but do we have to look at it all day long?
With the Wit Thintex, you get the support of the suspension mesh in the back, which also provides some of the breathability that only mesh can offer (though I’ve never had a problem getting too hot while sitting in an office).
The Thintex name comes from a “tri-layer construction” – a method that includes a “design” layer of durable, cleanable fabric or vinyl that covers the outside; a comfort layer that gives the soft “pillow feel”; and a 1 millimeter thick “performance” layer of monofilament mesh that acts like two inches of foam, which provides the spring-back and support.
The inspiration from the chair comes from the footware industry, which is not a surprise. It is athletic-looking. It is easy to adjust as well. I like that the paddles are easy to find, though don’t look like clunky off-the-shelf adjusters. The lumbar support, a rubbery strip that adjusts up and down the back of the chair, unfortunately does little for the ride and probably should function better.
One small issue I did have with the Wit Thintex is the arms. Thought they are easily adjustable, I find them a bit uncomfortable due to the concave design. Since I spend a lot of time using a keyboard, these are pads tended to cut into the underside of my arms. “Pads” is a probably a generous term since there is very little padding in the arm rest at all, almost certainly to keep the styling as slick as possible, but not helpful to those doing a lot of keyboard work.
Overall there isn’t much to complain about when it comes to the Wit Thintex. It is a excellent chair that can compete with task seats twice the price. At the price offered, it is nearly unbeatable in the category.
With Thintex midback and highback models are designed for corporate conference rooms and task work. The anti-microbial feature of Thintex vinyl textile is for healthcare applications. Like the original Wit mesh back, standard features include adjustable lumbar support, height adjustable arms and multiple back support colors. With Thintex task chairs are available immediately with SitOnIt Seating’s standard two, five, or 10 day lead times.
For years, SitOnIt competed on price alone and the Southern California company did quite well. Over the past few years, it has focused seriously on its design too. It is a winning mix that should give every office furniture seating manufacturer competing with SitOnIt many sleepless nights.