Branch’s Verve Takes a Seat at the Head of the Table of Ergonomics
When it comes to task seating, more often than not, you get what you pay for. Cheaply made office chairs are like budget mattresses: they might be fine at first, especially when cost is factored prominently, but over time your body begins to reveal where all those cost-cutting measures were made in the form of lingering aches and pains. Working from a poorly designed task chair is a bad lifestyle choice. But the reality is not everyone can afford a top-tier $1000+ chair for home, which makes the arrival of the Verve Chair by Branch a welcome option for anyone looking for many of the same features of the top-tier models we’re often assigned while working from the office with pricing that remains aspirational, yet attainable, and subjectively one of the most home decor-friendly profiles.
Branch is a New York-based office furniture company specializing in affordably priced ergonomic workplace and home office furniture, operating similarly to the direct-to-consumer model as Casper does within the mattresses sector. The company certainly benefitted during the explosive demand for home office solutions when work from home became a reality and necessity over the last couple of years. Today they continue to increasingly serve the enterprise side of the business, but the Verve Chair was designed to gain traction with consumers seeking corporate-quality office furniture offered to appease home office budgets with residential aesthetics in mind.
In the style department, the Verve shares a striking similarity to other woven knit back office chairs like the Steelcase Think 3D or Knoll Generation. It strikes a really pleasing presence within the home office, appearing like a legitimate task chair without looking too technical, especially in its most vibrant option of Coral (the other two colors being a staid Black and a serene Mist).
Despite the Verve’s assemble yourself design – a process that really does only take a few minutes and can be done with only a passing glance at instructions using a single included tool – the finished product is as solid and significant as any task chair we’ve tested. Once pieced together we found the caster wheels rolled smoothly, comfort controls operated without a hitch, and there were no worrisome squeaks or loosened build issues. The sum felt like a chair that very well might exceed its warranty.
The chair’s distinctive 3D woven polyester triangle pattern is extremely breathable and designed to allow airflow to keep backs from overheating. And indeed, our review unit felt great on a warm afternoon with a fan pointed toward the back of the Verve. It’s fairly supportive and can recline or lock into a set angle with just a pull of a lever (one of six ergonomic adjustment controls), with a V-shaped suspended back supporting a lower adjustable lumbar rest to maintain an ideal S-curve seated posture. Our personal preference tends to lean toward padded upholstered backs for even greater support, but the Verve’s airy comfort tempted defection.
More than its back, it’s the Verve’s nearly perfect padded seat that won us over. Even our everyday driver, the supremely ergonomic Humanscale Freedom’s seat cushion seemed lacking in comparison to the Verve’s soft-yet-supportive high-density, molded foam when it came to sculpting and supporting our backside, especially along the back of the thighs, a pressure point we often notice after long hours at the computer. The pliant cushion seems to mold to the body whether angled forward, straightened, or leaning back, and with a cool touch, a welcome sensation for those prone to run hot like ourselves.
A detail not as deserving of glowing praise is the Verve’s arm rests, which feels like where Branch might have cut corners. The arm rest cushions are spartan at best with only a rumor of cushioning. Configured to curve with a backwards elbow facing towards the front, the arms exhibit a little bit of lateral wiggle, an exception to the rule of an otherwise solidly built task chair backed by a surprisingly robust 7-year warranty. We hope any plans for a version 2.0 includes more cushioning across the arms, alongside the option to switch out for a lightly upholstered padded back to build upon an otherwise stellar support system.
At $549, the Verve isn’t necessarily anywhere a cheap proposition. But it is not prohibitively expensive either, a task chair that embodies the notion of a design within reach. Frankly speaking, the Verve matches our experiences with other “name” office chairs sold at twice the price, all the while retaining many of the same ergonomic features and featuring a design that matches or exceeds those models within a home environment.
No task chair is a one-size-fits-all affair, but the Verve deserves consideration if you’re looking for an affordable mesh back chair with top-tier build, supportive ergonomics and a design that underlines the “home” in WFH.
The Verve Chair is available for pre-order now with shipping starting in August.