Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs

Recline Designs

Varier Chairs Kokon Club Small - Chair Institute
Kokon Club
Varier Chairs Peel Club Small - Chair Institute
Peel Club

Active

Varier Chairs Active Small - Chair Institute
Active
Varier Chairs Actulum Small - Chair Institute
Actulum
Varier Chairs Date Small - Chair Institute
Date
Varier Chairs Invite Small - Chair Institute
Invite

Are you the type of person at least as interested in form as you are in function? 

Are you looking for a home or office furniture that makes a statement, even as it provides a comfortable seating experience? 

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’ll love our in-depth look at the Varier brand.

These aren’t simply office chairs, they’re works of art with bold, striking, unforgettable designs, and as such, they’re not for everyone. If you’re one of those rare people who are looking for a bit of artistic flair in your home and office furnishings, however, you’ll find this company to be an amazing resource. 

We’d love to see Varier branch out into other types of household furnishings so that it would be possible to decorate your whole home, top to bottom with products offered by this company, but alas, to date, they’ve chosen to focus exclusively on chairs. Still, having seen their designs, we’d love to see what the company could do with coffee tables, end tables, sofas, love seats and the like. The results would no doubt be spectacular.

In any case, the important thing to stress here is that these are highly innovative, artistic designs. If you’re in the market for conventional office furniture, give this company a pass. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in ‘decorating outside the lines,’ then consider Varier to be a toolbox filled with all sorts of goodies designed to make a statement.

We’ll go over the particulars of all the chairs the company currently offers so you can get a better sense of them and decide for yourself if this is the company you’ve been looking for without even realizing it. To get started, we’ll present all of the Varier chairs in table format to provide an overview, and then drill down into the particulars of each model:

About Varier Chairs

Some Assembly Required

With the exceptions of the Date and the Invite, none of the chairs you buy from Varier come assembled, but in most cases, the assembly process is relatively straightforward. You’ll be able to put each model together by yourself in about thirty minutes, and you can nearly cut that time in half if you’ve got a trusty assistant handy.

The exception here is the Ekstrem. Owing to its highly unusual design, putting this model together is a bit like assembling a life-sized 3D puzzle, and as such, it can be a bit of a head-scratching process. The good news is that it’s something you’ll only have to do once, and you’ll be able to enjoy it after that with only occasional re-tightening needed.

Scandinavian Designed and Built

One of the most common and persistent complaints we’ve seen about Varier furniture is that it’s expensive. There are two reasons for this. First and foremost, innovative design isn’t cheap. Top designers command top salaries in their field, and the world of furniture is no different.

Second, these are quality pieces of furniture offered by a respected company in the industry. You’ll pay a premium for European design and manufacture, but of course, it’s also true that you get what you pay for.

An Impressive Warranty, But There’s a Catch

All of the furniture Varier sells is backed by an impressive five-year limited warranty. That’s a cut above the industry average, but by no means best in class, and there’s a catch. You have to pay for the warranty separately if you want it.

In our view, this is a definite negative of the brand. When you buy a piece of furniture from Herman Miller or SteelCase, for example, you get a ten-year warranty that’s baked into the price, and in some cases, a lifetime warranty. 

Given the already high price of Varier’s offerings, tacking on an extra fee for the warranty, which as noted, isn’t as robust as some other furniture vendors, seems excessive, which is why these products aren’t rated quite as highly as they could be. 

Is that a deal breaker? For most people, the answer to that question would be no, especially if you flat-out love Varier designs. Even so, it’s something that should be taken into consideration before committing to a purchase.

Intriguing Extras on Offer

One thing we especially like about the Varier brand is the fact that they’ve got some intriguing extras on offer for people who buy their chairs. Some of them are more intriguing than others, but we’ll give them all a mention here for the sake of completeness.

Soft Tape

Soft Tape of Varier Chairs

This is probably the least exciting extra on offer, made available for those who purchase the Balans, ThatSit and Gravity Balans models. Bear in mind that these models don’t have wheels, so if you need to scoot the chair around and you’ve got hardwood floors, the act of moving them might scuff up your flooring. Not good.

The tape solves this dilemma. These take the place of wheels, allowing you to move your chair on a hard surface floor with ease, and without risking the floor’s finish. While not a terribly exciting extra, it’s a nice innovation and a great finishing touch. Not everyone will need soft tape (if you plan to use the chair in a carpeted room, for example), but if you do, you’ll be delighted it’s available.

Rubber Soles

Rubber Soles of Varier Chairs

These are made available for people who purchase the Move or Motion stools. They serve the reverse function that the soft tape serves for the various Balans models, keeping the stool more firmly fixed in its position until and unless you want to move it. Again, it’s a small thing, but a very nice finishing touch.

Variable Padded Backrest

Variable Padded Backrest of Varier Chairs of Varier Chairs

One of the most glaring weaknesses that kneeling chairs have is the fact that they provide no back support. This makes them fine for short to medium-duration seating, but if you need a chair for heavy daily use, having to support your back all day without any help from the chair you’re sitting in is bound to take its toll on your back. 

The Variable Padded Backrest solves the problem. If you’ve purchased a Balans chair and you find yourself missing back support, this is the answer. The attachment fits perfectly on the back of the Varier Balans kneeling chair and gives you the best of both worlds: The ergonomic excellence that kneeling chairs are known for, coupled with back support that will allow you to use your kneeling chair for extended periods, every day.

The Glow

Varier Glow of Varier Chairs

This is our favorite of the accessories on offer. It works with any of the models the company sells, turning them into “smart chairs.” Here’s how it works:

When you’re sitting in your Varier chair, the tracker will track your movement and visually display your sitting activity in the form of a circle. The longer you sit, the bigger the circle gets, and the more you move about while seated, the more brightly the circle glows.

It’s a subtle way of encouraging healthy sitting habits and providing feedback so you can see how active you are while sitting. The Glow also has an iOS app that tracks your calorie consumption while sitting and cross-pollinates data with other iOS health apps you’ve got on your Apple device. It’s a fabulous addition to any chair, and highly recommended!

If you’re interested in any of these, the chair accessories can be found here: Varier Accessories.

Varier Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs

 
 
 
 
 
Style:
Sit/Stand
Style:
Sit/Stand
Style:
Kneel
Style:
Kneel
Style:
Kneel
Primary Rating:
4.1
Primary Rating:
4.1
Primary Rating:
3.8
Primary Rating:
3.9
Primary Rating:
4.2
$399.00
N/A
$349.00
$899.00
N/A
Value:
3.8
Value:
3.6
Value:
3.8
Value:
3.5
Value:
4.3
Comfort:
4.0
Comfort:
4.0
Comfort:
4.3
Comfort:
4.5
Comfort:
4.5
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”
Overall Dimensions:
17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”
Overall Dimensions:
32” x 21” x 7.5”
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 23” x 11”
Chair Weight:
15.25 pounds
Chair Weight:
15.25 pounds
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Chair Weight:
28 pounds
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
A classic, venerable, timeless design, as comfortable as it is attractive.
Summary:
An update to the classic Move design that increases your mobility when sitting on the stool.
Summary:
A classic design by Peter Opsvik. Introduced in 1979, this chair essentially invented the field of alternative ergonomic seating.
Summary:
An improvement to the original Balans, this one was also created by legendary designer Peter Opsvik. It’s a more robust and capable chair, ideal for heavy daily use.
Summary:
A wheeled version of Peter Opsvik’s classic design!
Recommended for:
Anyone who’s in the market for an ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.
Recommended for:
Anyone who’s in the market for an ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.
Recommended for:
Anyone in the market for a kneeling chair. Ideal for those who plan to use it lightly to moderately, every day. With the addition of the optional backrest, it could even be used heavily on a daily basis.
Recommended for:
People who want or need a kneeling chair optimized for heavy daily use.
Recommended for:
Anyone. Everyone who’s interested in alternative ergonomic seating. This one’s a prize.
Style:
Sit/Stand
Primary Rating:
4.1
$399.00
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”
Chair Weight:
15.25 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
Summary:
A classic, venerable, timeless design, as comfortable as it is attractive.
Recommended for:
Anyone who’s in the market for an ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.
Style:
Sit/Stand
Primary Rating:
4.1
N/A
Value:
3.6
Comfort:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
17.5” x 16.25” x 8.5”
Chair Weight:
15.25 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
22” to 32”
Summary:
An update to the classic Move design that increases your mobility when sitting on the stool.
Recommended for:
Anyone who’s in the market for an ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.
Style:
Kneel
Primary Rating:
3.8
$349.00
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.3
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 21.5” x 7.2”
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
A classic design by Peter Opsvik. Introduced in 1979, this chair essentially invented the field of alternative ergonomic seating.
Recommended for:
Anyone in the market for a kneeling chair. Ideal for those who plan to use it lightly to moderately, every day. With the addition of the optional backrest, it could even be used heavily on a daily basis.
Style:
Kneel
Primary Rating:
3.9
$899.00
Value:
3.5
Comfort:
4.5
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
32” x 21” x 7.5”
Chair Weight:
28 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
An improvement to the original Balans, this one was also created by legendary designer Peter Opsvik. It’s a more robust and capable chair, ideal for heavy daily use.
Recommended for:
People who want or need a kneeling chair optimized for heavy daily use.
Style:
Kneel
Primary Rating:
4.2
N/A
Value:
4.3
Comfort:
4.5
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
25” x 23” x 11”
Chair Weight:
14.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
A wheeled version of Peter Opsvik’s classic design!
Recommended for:
Anyone. Everyone who’s interested in alternative ergonomic seating. This one’s a prize.
07/20/2024 10:45 am GMT

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Varier Sit, Stand, Kneel Designs – In More Detail

Move Ergonomic Stool

Varier Move Ergonomic Stool
4.1

Recommended For: Anyone who’s dissatisfied with conventional office furniture and who doesn’t need something designed for sitting for extended periods.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

This is one of the company’s oldest designs, developed in the ’80s by Per Oie, and has set the standard in non-traditional ergonomic seating design since it burst onto the marketplace. 

The base of the Varier Move is constructed from beech plywood taken from European forests and covered with an ash veneer made of water-based, non-toxic lacquers. That, combined with the fact that the “Revive” upholstery covering the seat is made almost entirely of recycled polyester, makes this model a great choice for environmentally conscious folks.

NEAT Certified

The Move is more than just a stylish, ergonomic seating solution, however. It’s also NEAT certified. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s a certification developed by none other than the Mayo Clinic to foster the design of better furniture.

NEAT stands for “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis,” which is a measure of motion people who are not engaged in exercise make that contribute to better health and more burned calories. 

To qualify for the certification, a chair must be designed in such a way that using the chair increases the number of calories burned by at least ten percent as compared with the Mayo Clinic’s baseline. 

The Move stool handily beats that. During testing, people who used the Move stool burned an average of 18% more calories than those who sat in a conventional office chair.

Color Options

When you place your order, you can select from the following colors:

You can also order an alternate fabric that the company refers to as “Step Fabric” which is more flexible and durable, but only available in either black or grey (no additional charge for the Step Fabric upgrade, however).

Lightweight and Height Adjustable

Office Decoration of Move Ergonomic Stool Chair

The Move stool is delightfully lightweight, weighing in at just over fifteen pounds while being capable of supporting users of up to 240 pounds. In addition to that, it’s got a height adjustment cylinder that allows you to adjust the seat to floor height from 22” to 32.”

This is an incredible range, given that most office chairs only have a 4” range of height adjustment motion, and it makes the Move stool useful for just about everyone, provided that you don’t exceed the maximum recommended weight limit, of course.

Functional Design

It gets better because the seat can also be tilted in order to maximize each user’s comfort. Best of all, when you get it from the company, you’ll only have three pieces to put together, so assembly is a snap.

It will almost certainly take you longer to get it out of the box than it will be to put the stool together to get it ready for first use.

Final Thoughts

As good as the Move stool is, it’s not for everyone. It’s ideal for people in active professions who only spend short to moderate lengths of time sitting at a workbench or computer, and then are up on their feet again as they go about their daily business.

If you’re looking for something designed to accommodate you for eight hours or more every day, in front of a keyboard, this is almost certainly not the seating solution for you.

Motion Ergonomic Stool

Varier Motion
4.1

Recommended For: An ergonomic seating solution designed for light to moderate daily use.

Check Latest Price

Introduced in 2017 by designers Salto and Sigsgaard, the Varier Motion stool is equipped with a saddle-style seat and is functionally similar to the award-winning Move stool, but it comes with a fun twist: the stool moves as you do. It “wobbles” on its base to allow you a broader range of motion than a conventional stool gives you while retaining its stability and ergonomic benefits.

The Motion stool is made entirely from man-made recycled materials, and the base is constructed of Vibraflex, which is a material that absorbs vibrations and provides stability, regardless of the position that the sitter puts the stool in.


Balans Chair

Varier Variable Balans
4.2

Recommended For: Light to moderate use. With the optional backrest, it could even be used heavily on a daily basis.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

Introduced in 1979, this chair, designed by Peter Opsvik is heralded as the original kneeling chair, and when it was introduced, it essentially created the market for alternative ergonomic seating. This is the design that competitors seek to emulate when they craft and sell their own kneeling chairs. Why settle for an imitation though, when you can own the original?

Lightweight and Durable Frame

Constructed of layered beech plywood taken from European forests and covered with an Ash veneer, the frame is heat-and-pressure-treated to give it its distinctive shape. It’s lightweight and incredibly durable, capable of supporting a maximum of 240 pounds of user weight.

Rocking Motion

Side View of Black Variants of Balans Kneeling Chair

Although the seat to floor height cannot be adjusted (static at 20”), the Varier Balans kneeling chair does rock slightly as you move while seated on it, which allows for greater freedom of movement than you might expect from a kneeling chair.

Easy to Move Around

Although no kneeling chair that we’re aware of comes with wheels as a conventional office chair does, if you have a hardwood or tile floor and buy the soft tape accessory, you’ll find that you can scoot around with relative ease, providing an even greater range of easy movement while sitting in this chair.

Color and Frame Options

When you place your order, you can choose from any of the following configurations:

These can be ordered with an ash-colored wooden frame. You can also order those colors with a black lacquered frame, but a few additional color options are available if you opt for a black frame, including turquoise and light grey.

In addition to that, if you order your Variable Balans direct from the company, you can choose whatever accessories you’re interested in adding to your chair.

Accessories

We’d recommend the soft tape addition for anyone who plans to use the chair on a hardwood or tile floor, and the optional backrest if you need a chair that’s suitable for heavy daily use. Additionally, the Glow would be a great option if you want to track your calorie burn while sitting in the chair.

ThatSit Balans Chair

Varier ThatSit Balans
3.9

Recommended For: People who want a kneeling chair optimized for heavy daily use.

Check Latest Price

Although this is not the highest rated chair the company makes, it’s probably our favorite design. This is the standard Balans on steroids. It’s bigger, heavier, and more durable, capable of supporting up to 300 pounds of user weight.

Backrest

Even better, it comes with a deluxe backrest built in that’s significantly better than the backrest accessory you can buy for the standard Balans. If you plan on using the chair in a room with hardwood flooring or tile, then combining it with some soft tape will enable you to achieve a surprising amount of mobility as you set about your work.

A Few Things to Consider

As much as we love the design, however, we have to be fair in our review and point out the shortcomings that are associated with the model. In our view, there are three:

Left View of ThatSit Balans Kneeling Chair
  • It’s expensive. Sure, the backrest is a marked improvement over the accessory backrest of the standard Balans, but the reality is that you could buy the standard chair and the backrest attachment and still spend less than you’d spend on this chair.
  • It’s offered in fewer colors than the standard Balans. If you want one, you can only get it in black upholstery. That’s certainly not a deal breaker, as black is an incredibly versatile color, but we do wish Varier had given potential buyers the same color choices that are offered with the base model.
  • It’s a beast to put together solo. While it’s not as tough as the Ekstrem, it’s still a brutal experience that will test your patience and probably cause you to invent a few new swear words as you struggle to keep the various pieces together long enough to get the screws in place. This is a chair you’ll want to enlist the aid of a trusty assistant to help you assemble.

We’ve mentioned before that one of the biggest drawbacks associated with kneeling chairs is the fact that they’re not optimal seating solutions if you need something for heavy daily use. The lack of back support makes it impractical. The Varier ThatSit Balans neatly solves that problem, and it does so with flair and style. We love it.

Wing Balans Chair

Varier Wing Balans
4.3

Recommended For: Anyone who’s interested in alternative ergonomic seating. This one’s a prize.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

Earlier, we made mention of the fact that there were no kneeling chairs that we knew of that featured rolling casters. We admit that that was a bit of a setup because there actually is one – this one. Leave it to Varier to deliver a product that pushes the envelope and redefines what kneeling chairs are and what they can do.

Although slightly larger and heavier, this chair is functionally similar to the classic Balans, but with a couple of key differences.

Key Differences 

Rather than rehashing the similarities, we’ll zero in on those differences, which are:

Left Side View of Wing Balans Kneeling Chair
  • It’s on wheels – This is obviously the biggest difference and makes the Varier Wing Balans the perfect synthesis between a standard kneeling chair and a conventional office chair. You get all the big benefits of both — the ergonomic excellence of the kneeling chair design, with the exceptional mobility that a traditional office chair provides.
  • It’s only available in black. Sadly, there are no color choices on offer here.
  • The knee pads are slightly different on this model. The standard Balans features two separate knee pads, while this one is a winged design. A single platform to support your knees.
  • Unfortunately, and this is perhaps the biggest weakness of the design, the optional backrest accessory isn’t designed to fit this model.

Final Thoughts

Even without the optional backrest, this model is the company’s highest-rated design and is highly recommended. If it had back support, it would be our hands-down recommendation as it would be ideal for long-duration sitting and heavy daily use.

As it stands, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for a chair designed for light to moderate daily use. It’s innovations like this that set Varier apart as a company. We’d rate this as our second favorite design, tied with the next chair we’ll talk about.

Varier Recline Designs

 
 
 
 
 
 
Style:
Recline
Style:
Recline
Style:
Recline
Style:
Recline
Style:
Recline
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
4.1
Primary Rating:
3.8
Primary Rating:
3.6
Primary Rating:
3.9
Primary Rating:
4.0
Primary Rating:
3.9
Value:
3.8
Value:
3.8
Value:
3.5
Value:
3.8
Value:
4.0
Value:
4.0
Comfort:
4.8
Comfort:
4.3
Comfort:
4.0
Comfort:
4.3
Comfort:
4.3
Comfort:
4.2
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.3
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.3
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
58” x 22” x 12”
Overall Dimensions:
32” x 32” x 46”
Overall Dimensions:
28.3” x 27.5” x 31.1”
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 43.3” x 32.6”
Overall Dimensions:
32.6” x 28.7” x 26.4”
Overall Dimensions:
30.7” x 32.2” x 30.3”
Chair Weight:
29.3 pounds
Chair Weight:
82.25 pounds
Chair Weight:
32.5 pounds
Chair Weight:
50 pounds
Chair Weight:
36 pounds
Chair Weight:
40 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 Pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
20”
Seat Height:
Depends on how you use it and sit on it (see description)
Seat Height:
16.1”
Seat Height:
16.9”
Seat Height:
16.5”
Summary:
A strange, futuristic looking chair that’s exceptionally comfortable.
Summary:
A robust, functional, striking design that can be used either as a work chair in your office, as a guest chair, or as an accent piece in any room in your home.
Summary:
An unusual design, not suited for use as a primary work chair.
Summary:
A fantastic casual recliner with a retro look and feel
Summary:
A smaller variant of the full-sized Kokon. It doesn’t come with a footrest, but you can buy one separately if you like.
Summary:
A smaller variant of the full-sized Peel. It doesn’t come with a footrest, but is functionally identical to its larger cousin and could be used as a work chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone who can afford one.
Recommended for:
Anyone who likes the aesthetic and has at least some immunity to sticker shock.
Recommended for:
A great, playful option for use livening up a reception area, school, game room, Recreation Hall, daycare, etc. A wonderful accent piece.
Recommended for:
Not suitable for use as a work chair. This one’s strictly for home décor, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic.
Recommended for:
Not suitable for use as a work chair. This one’s strictly for home décor, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic.
Recommended for:
Anyone looking for a more affordable, slightly smaller version of the full-sized Peel chair.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
4.1
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
58” x 22” x 12”
Chair Weight:
29.3 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 Pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
A strange, futuristic looking chair that’s exceptionally comfortable.
Recommended for:
Anyone who can afford one.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
3.8
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.3
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.3
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
32” x 32” x 46”
Chair Weight:
82.25 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
20”
Summary:
A robust, functional, striking design that can be used either as a work chair in your office, as a guest chair, or as an accent piece in any room in your home.
Recommended for:
Anyone who likes the aesthetic and has at least some immunity to sticker shock.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
3.6
Value:
3.5
Comfort:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
28.3” x 27.5” x 31.1”
Chair Weight:
32.5 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
Depends on how you use it and sit on it (see description)
Summary:
An unusual design, not suited for use as a primary work chair.
Recommended for:
A great, playful option for use livening up a reception area, school, game room, Recreation Hall, daycare, etc. A wonderful accent piece.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
3.9
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.3
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
28.7” x 43.3” x 32.6”
Chair Weight:
50 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
16.1”
Summary:
A fantastic casual recliner with a retro look and feel
Recommended for:
Not suitable for use as a work chair. This one’s strictly for home décor, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
4.0
Value:
4.0
Comfort:
4.3
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
32.6” x 28.7” x 26.4”
Chair Weight:
36 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
16.9”
Summary:
A smaller variant of the full-sized Kokon. It doesn’t come with a footrest, but you can buy one separately if you like.
Recommended for:
Not suitable for use as a work chair. This one’s strictly for home décor, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic.
Style:
Recline
Primary Rating:
3.9
Value:
4.0
Comfort:
4.2
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.3
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
30.7” x 32.2” x 30.3”
Chair Weight:
40 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
16.5”
Summary:
A smaller variant of the full-sized Peel. It doesn’t come with a footrest, but is functionally identical to its larger cousin and could be used as a work chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone looking for a more affordable, slightly smaller version of the full-sized Peel chair.

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Varier Recline Designs – In More Detail

Gravity Balans Chair

Varier Gravity Balans Chair
4.1

Recommended For: Anyone who can afford one.

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In our minds, this model is tied with the Wing Balans as our second favorite design. We readily admit that this strange looking design won’t be for everyone, but it’s easily the most versatile piece of furniture Varier makes.

Versatile and Multifunctional

It’s one of a very few chairs being sold today that can pull triple duty, serving as a rocking chair, a standard (albeit un-wheeled) office chair, and a kneeling chair, which quite literally puts it in a class by itself.

When you’re hard at work, you can rock forward, using it as a kneeling chair. Then later in the day when you’d like to change positions, you can rock back slightly, employing the armrests and using the chair more conventionally, and later still, when you’re ready to relax, rock back and enjoy some Zero-G relaxation until you get your second wind.

Yes, you read that correctly. This chair rocks back sufficiently that it elevates your knees above your heart, in a position similar to the one employed by many popular massage chairs, giving you a feeling of weightlessness.

Some Things to Consider

Left View of Gravity Balans Chair

There are, of course, two catches:

First, you’ll pay a hefty premium for the quality and versatility of this chair. Second, there’s the aesthetic to consider. Even though we rate this model as being tied for our second favorite, it’s not because of its striking good looks. 

While it would be overselling it to say that the Varier Gravity Balans chair is downright ugly, it would be a hard sell to convince anyone that it was an attractive design. In this case, it’s clear that the designers put the vast bulk of their emphasis on functionality and paid relatively little attention to form.

In our view, this was a good decision, because the chair offers a raft of therapeutic benefits that extend well beyond what a “standard” ergonomic chair brings to the table.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to its multi-function design, allowing for a variety of seating positions, a reasonably well-padded backrest and an adjustable neck rest, this chair is ideally suited for heavy daily use. The only thing it’s missing are wheels, but that shortcoming can be mitigated by adding soft tape to the chair when you make your purchase.

Sadly, it’s available only in black with an Ash finish. Fortunately, however, that’s a versatile and attractive color combination that will blend in well with a variety of home or office décor schemes.

Peel Reclining Chair

Varier Peel Reclining Chair
3.8

Recommended For: Anyone who likes the aesthetic and has at least some immunity to sticker shock.

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For us, the two versions (left open and right open) of the Peel chair represent the pinnacle of Varier’s design excellence. It’s a masterpiece, and we think it’s a beautiful chair, although admittedly, its “look” won’t be for everyone.

Multifunctional Design

In some ways, it’s similar to the Gravity Balans, in that it can serve in a number of different roles. It’s entirely possible to use this model as your primary work chair, and its exceptional design lends itself well to heavy daily use, although we’ll be quick to note that because of the unusual shape of the chair, it’s got no lumbar support, which has to count as a strike against it.

Headrest and Footrest

Front View of Peel Reclining Chair

It does, however, have an exceptional, height adjustable headrest and comes with a footrest. Even better, both the chair itself and the footrest can swivel. That’s not quite as good as having a wheeled office chair, but it does make it easier to reach more of your workspace, and that’s not nothing.

The chair also makes a beautiful addition to any waiting or reception area, and of course, if you order a matching set, they’d make a glorious addition to just about any room in your house.

Price

As with most Varier products, the catch is the price. Most people can’t afford to spend a few thousand bucks on a chair, no matter how attractive it is. If you do have the funds though, and if you’re as taken with the look of the chair as we are, you’ll be thrilled to own one.

Sturdy and Comfortable

The company didn’t skimp anywhere either. The Ash base is sturdy and attractive, and both the chair and the footrest are well padded and comfortable, upholstered with high-quality semi-aniline leather. Even better, the chair includes a patented tilt and lock system, allowing you to customize the angle of recline to your liking. 

Base Not Rubberized

Left View of Peel Reclining Chair

The only real drawback we see (aside from the aforementioned hefty price tag) is the fact that the base isn’t rubberized, which means that you’ve got to be careful when you sit down in it if you’ve got it resting on a hardwood floor or other smooth surface.

Unfortunately, the rubberized accessory the company sells is incompatible with this model, so there’s no good way to add one unless you make it yourself.

On the Heavy Side

Also, pay attention to the weight of the Varier Peel chair. Given that it weighs on the high side of a hundred pounds and sports an unusual shape, this isn’t something you’ll want to try to reposition on your own. It’s certainly not impossible to do so; it’s just easier with a second pair of hands.

Final Thoughts

Even given the few limitations and drawbacks mentioned above though, this is a true work of art, and we highly recommend it, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic, of course.

Note: We rated this chair somewhat low in terms of aesthetic flexibility because although we love the look of it, it’s not something that will blend seamlessly with any home décor scheme.

Ekstrem Chair

Varier Ekstrem Ergonomic Chair
3.6

Recommended For: A great, playful option for use, livening up a reception area, school, game room, Recreation Hall, daycare, etc. A wonderful accent piece.

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We won’t spend a lot of time on this chair, because our primary focus in on office furniture, but since we’re doing a brand review for Varier, for the sake of completeness, we wanted to list and say at least a few words about all the chairs the company makes.

This one was designed in 1984, by Terje Ekstrom, and is a delightfully retro design, although we’ll be quick to admit that its aesthetic won’t be for everyone.

Front View of Ekstrem Chair

It’s a steel-framed chair, generously padded and upholstered in a 90% wool, 10% polyester blend, available in a variety of colors, including:

  • Black
  • Grey
  • Blue
  • Marine Blue
  • Red
  • Green

Although it’s not suitable for use as an office chair, it makes a dramatic statement and would be ideal for use in reception and waiting areas, game rooms, and is an especially fun addition to any child’s room.

We’ll also be quick to point out that this chair is a beast to assemble because it’s a bit like a giant 3D puzzle. Your assembly effort will be greatly helped by keeping in mind that the pieces are mirror images of each other, so your best bet will be to divide them into “left hand pieces” and “right hand pieces” before you start putting it together. Doing so will easily shave 25% off of your assembly time.

Blue Variants of Ekstrem Chair
Green Variants of Ekstrem Chair
Red Variants of Ekstrem Chair
Yellow Variants of Ekstrem Chair

Because of the shape of the Varier Ekstrem chair, you can sit on any one of three different levels, so there’s no “one” seat to floor height. It all depends on how you want to sprawl out on it. Note that unlike the office furniture the company makes, this chair is manufactured in Norway.

Kokon Chair

Varier Kokon
3.9

Recommended For: Not suitable for use as a work chair. This one’s strictly for home décor, assuming you’re a fan of the aesthetic.

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Designed by Thomas Pedersen, this is another non-office chair made by Varier so again; we’ll only mention it briefly.

While this one could theoretically be used in a reception or waiting area, it’s actually a casual recliner, most at home in stylishly decorated living rooms.

Aesthetics and Ergonomics

Red Variants of Kokon Chair

It’s offered in either wool or aniline leather upholstery, and if you order yours in wool, you can choose from one of three colors (Grey, Teal, or Red). The full-sized Varier Kokon comes with a matching footrest, and both the chair and the footrest swivel.

Like the brilliantly designed Peel, the Kokon features the company’s patented tilt and lock mechanism and is a great chair for lounging or relaxing in comfort and style.

While it doesn’t offer any sort of lumbar support, it does feature an ergonomic headrest pillow and a waterfall edge style footrest. It’s eggshell shaped design almost wraps you in an embrace when you sit in it, enhancing the overall comfort of the chair.

Kokon Club

The Varier Kokon Club is a smaller, more lightly built variant of its full-sized cousin, the Kokon. It has the same major design characteristics but lacks a footrest, though you can order the one that accompanies the full-sized Kokon if you decide you want one.

Color Options

This model is offered in the following colors:

  • Black
  • Bottle Green
  • Deep Blue
  • Medium Blue
  • Burgundy
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Beige

Unlike the full-sized Kokon, there’s no option for leather. Only wool upholstery is available, and like its larger cousin, it’s manufactured in Norway.

Peel Club

Varier Peel Club
3.9

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a more affordable, slightly smaller version of the full-sized Peel chair.


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Just as the Kokon Club is the smaller variant of the Kokon recliner, so too is the Varier Peel Club, the smaller cousin of the full-sized Peel chair.

It has the same basic aesthetic but in an abbreviated form. It doesn’t come with the footrest as the larger chair does, but this is essentially the same design and can be used in all the same ways and places that its larger cousin can. 

Given its smaller size, though, it’s more affordable and can fit into more confined spaces. If you’re a fan of the Peel aesthetic, this is a great option.

  • Beige
  • Blue-Grey
  • Blue-Jade
  • Forest Green
  • Bright Yellow
  • Mature Red
  • Wine Red
  • Black
  • Light Blue
  • Greenish-Grey
  • Reflex Blue
  • Strong Blue
  • Dark Blue
  • Pink
  • Pink-Red (Blush)
  • Cigar Brown
  • Dark Brown
  • Happy Ocean Green
  • Very Dark Blue
Blue Variants of Peel Club Arm Chair

In addition to that, where the full-sized Peel is only available in the Ash Base configuration, you can choose from one of three options when you order the Peel Club. The base options are:

  • Ash (just like the full-sized chair)
  • Black lacquered Ash
  • An aluminum cross-base

The other key difference is where the full-sized Peel chair is offered in quality leather upholstery, these chairs are upholstered in a 95% wool/5% polyester blend that’s more breathable and as such, better suited to long duration seating and heavy daily usage.

Like the full-sized chair, this one tilts and locks, features a 360-degree swivel and can be ordered in “open left” or “open right” configurations.

Varier Tilt Designs

 
 
 
 
Style:
Tilt
Style:
Tilt
Style:
Tilt
Style:
Tilt
Primary Rating:
4.0
Primary Rating:
3.6
Primary Rating:
3.9
Primary Rating:
3.8
Value:
4.0
Value:
3.8
Value:
4.0
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.0
Comfort:
4.0
Comfort:
3.8
Comfort:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
3.5
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
Configuration A: 25.5” x 25.5” x 33” to 39”
Configuration B:
25.5” x 25.5” x 37.75” to 47.25”
Overall Dimensions:
21.6” x 26” x 35.5”
Overall Dimensions:
37.4” x 16.5” x 20.8”
Overall Dimensions:
35.8” x 18.1” x 21.25”
Chair Weight:
28 pounds
Chair Weight:
23.5 pounds
Chair Weight:
16.3 pounds
Chair Weight:
18.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
Configuration A: 18” to 24”
Configuration B: 22.75” to 32.25”
Seat Height:
18”
Seat Height:
19”
Seat Height:
19.1”
Summary:
A stunning design and a superb task chair, offered in a variety of colors and two different seat height configurations.
Summary:
A radical design that won’t appeal to everyone, but a well-designed, multi-function ergonomic chair.
Summary:
An understated, elegant design that’s best used as a dining chair.
Summary:
A simple, unobtrusive design that sees best use as a dining chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone. This model will fit more body shapes and sizes than any other Varier model.
Recommended for:
Anyone, assuming you find its unusual aesthetic appealing.
Recommended for:
Anyone. Could be used in a pinch as a work chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone. Could be used as a work chair in a pinch.
Style:
Tilt
Primary Rating:
4.0
Value:
4.0
Comfort:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
Configuration A: 25.5” x 25.5” x 33” to 39”
Configuration B:
25.5” x 25.5” x 37.75” to 47.25”
Chair Weight:
28 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
300 pounds
Seat Height:
Configuration A: 18” to 24”
Configuration B: 22.75” to 32.25”
Summary:
A stunning design and a superb task chair, offered in a variety of colors and two different seat height configurations.
Recommended for:
Anyone. This model will fit more body shapes and sizes than any other Varier model.
Style:
Tilt
Primary Rating:
3.6
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
4.0
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
3.5
Overall Dimensions:
21.6” x 26” x 35.5”
Chair Weight:
23.5 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
18”
Summary:
A radical design that won’t appeal to everyone, but a well-designed, multi-function ergonomic chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone, assuming you find its unusual aesthetic appealing.
Style:
Tilt
Primary Rating:
3.9
Value:
4.0
Comfort:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
4.0
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
37.4” x 16.5” x 20.8”
Chair Weight:
16.3 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
19”
Summary:
An understated, elegant design that’s best used as a dining chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone. Could be used in a pinch as a work chair.
Style:
Tilt
Primary Rating:
3.8
Value:
3.8
Comfort:
3.8
Aesthetic Flexibility*:
3.8
Brand Reliability:
4.0
Overall Dimensions:
35.8” x 18.1” x 21.25”
Chair Weight:
18.2 pounds
Max. Supported Weight:
240 pounds
Seat Height:
19.1”
Summary:
A simple, unobtrusive design that sees best use as a dining chair.
Recommended for:
Anyone. Could be used as a work chair in a pinch.

*While aesthetics is a matter of taste, aesthetic flexibility is a measure of how easily a given design would fit into a wide range of home or office décor schemes.
**Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.

Individual Product Details – Tilt Designs

Active Task Chair

Varier Active Task Chair

Recommended For: Anyone. This model will fit more body shapes and sizes than any other Varier model.

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The collaborative team of Olav Eldoy and Atle Tveit designed the Varier Active chair. It is a superb task chair, somewhat less expensive than some of the deluxe models we’ve reviewed.

In addition to its fun geometry, there are four different fabric options, or you can opt for vinyl upholstery. We’re unsure why you’d want to saddle a chair like this with cheap vinyl upholstery, but it’s an option.

Red Variants of Active Task Chair

There are more color options than we can realistically list here, with each fabric type having a unique range of options. To see the complete list, visit this page: Varier Active Task.

And click the green “Fabric Selector” button.

Finally, you can choose between a polished aluminum or black base, which gives you several customization options, allowing you to truly make the chair yours.

This model can be ordered in two different height adjustment configurations. The standard configuration gives you a chair with a seat height that ranges from 18″ to 24″, while the second offers a seat-to-floor height range of 22.75″ to 32.25.

That, combined with the 300-pound weight limit, makes the Active the company’s chair with the broadest overall market appeal.

Actulum Rocking Chair

Varier Actulum Rocking Chair
3.6

Recommended For: Anyone, assuming you find its unusual aesthetic appealing.

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From an aesthetic standpoint, this is probably our least favorite Varier design. It was created by Peter Opsvik in 1995, and while it succeeds brilliantly as a robust, multi-function chair, it looks like a crudely fashioned rocking chair that someone forgot to put the finishing touches on.

Front View of Actulum Rocking Chair

Despite our misgivings about its appearance, we readily admit that it’s a great design and suitable for various uses, including as a recliner (though it would probably stick out like a sore thumb in most homes), a dining chair, or a work chair.

There are no color or frame options. You’ll get an Ash veneer frame with a lightly padded seat and seatback covered in the company’s black Revive fabric when you order.

Although the Varier Actulum chair does not offer lumbar support, it provides exceptional mid-back support. The rocking motion that the runners allow gives your legs excellent support as well. The entire chair is designed to move effortlessly with your body.

As we mentioned, it’s a great design, but because of its unconventional looks, we don’t imagine this one will enjoy mass market appeal and consider it a niche product. On that basis, we give it a provisional recommendation.

Date Chair

Varier Date Dinner Chair
3.9

Recommended For: Anyone. Could be used in a pinch as a work chair.

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Designed by Olav Eldoy, this simple chair is best used as a dining chair, although it could also be used for light to moderate daily duty as a work chair in an office setting.

It’s one of the less expensive models the company offers and is available in a wide variety of colors, including:

  • Off White
  • Light Gray
  • Dark Gray
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Wheat
  • Orange
  • Burgundy
  • Red
  • Pink
  • Bluebell
  • Light Purple
  • Dark Purple
  • Strong Blue
  • Very Dark Blue
  • Pale Blue
  • Cerulean
  • Light Blue
  • Greenish Grey
  • Green Leaf
  • Green
Teal Variants of Date Dining Chair

You can opt to order the Varier Date chair with leather upholstery, and if you do, the following color options are available:

  • Off White
  • Nero
  • Amaretto
  • Armagnac

The chair legs can be ordered in:

  • Natural Oak
  • Black Oak
  • Standard Chrome
  • Matte Chrome

Its simple, modern design with surprising elegance would make a handsome addition to almost any home. 

Although it sees its best, most natural use as a dining chair is versatile enough to serve a variety of functions as needed, including, as we mentioned, pulling occasional duty as a stand-in office chair, mostly thanks to its hidden tilting mechanism that gives it a surprising range of motion.

This design proves that great design doesn’t have to be complex or involve many moving parts. The Date succeeds both despite and because of its simplicity. Of the two chairs, the company makes (this one and the Invite) best suited as dining chairs, this is our favorite, and we highly recommend it.

Invite Chair

Varier Invite Dining Chair
3.8

Recommended for: Anyone. Could be used as a work chair in a pinch.

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The Invite is perhaps Varier’s most straightforward design, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It’s a perfect chair offered at a surprisingly modest price by Varier standards.

Like the Date, it seems most at home as a surprisingly comfortable deluxe and stylish dining chair. It features a hidden tilt mechanism that moves with you as you sit in it. While not luxuriously padded, the range of motion makes for a surprisingly comfortable seating experience, making it possible to use the Varier Invite chair for work in a pinch. 

We wouldn’t recommend using it for several hours a day, every day, so it falls short of being a proper office or task chair, but it can undoubtedly pull double duty now and then if needs be.

Grey Variants of Invite Chair

As with most other chairs Varier sells, various color and finish options are available. In this case, you can choose from four different leg options, including:

  • Chrome
  • Black Wood
  • Natural Wood
  • Satin Legs 

Where the upholstery is concerned, you can choose from the following color options:

  • Black
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Burgundy
  • Bottle Green
  • Light Blue
  • Blue
  • Beige

Although we prefer the Date, it’s an excellent, surprisingly attractive design.

Pros & Cons of Varier Chairs

Image of Varier Brand Logo

As you have seen, Varier isn’t your typical home and office chair company. Love or hate them, you have to concede that the company’s designs are bold and innovative, even if they’re not for you.

A great deal of Varier’s product value is derived from the aesthetics of the chairs they sell. If you love their look, then Varier chairs offer tremendous value for the money. If aesthetics isn’t as important to you as comfort and adjustability, you’re almost certain to be underwhelmed.

Of course, aesthetics are a matter of taste, and everyone’s tastes and preferences differ. What we’ve discovered in researching this brand is that people tend to have strong opinions about the chairs Varier sells. They either love them or they put them off

If you’re in the former camp, this might be your new favorite company. If you’re in the latter group, Varier is almost certainly not the company you’ll want to buy from.

Varier Chairs Review Conclusion

Given everything we said above, we provisionally recommend the Varier chairs (although, as you read in our individual product descriptions, specific models got a strong recommendation from us). People who buy a chair from this company will do so primarily because they love the look of one of the designs. It speaks to them in a way that traditional office furniture doesn’t. 

Even if you decide Varier doesn’t make the kind of furniture you’re looking for, we think you’ll enjoy learning about the company’s product offerings.


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REFERENCES & RESOURCES