High Point Market Fall 2008: Motion goes high-tech

Gadgets control temperature, firmness

Joan Gunin, Jane Kitchen, October 22, 2008

AT THE MARKET - Using new technology, reclining chair manufacturers are adding novel innovations to their seating, ranging from adjustable seat firmness to individualized temperature controls.

One example at market is a Palliser chair that relies on ComfortCools technology, similar to that used to heat automobile seats, through a button-touch perforated vent system.

This chair, however, offers a cooling option as well as heat. It is available as a traditionally styled recliner or as a two-piece accent chair and ottoman set with a roll arm or a track arm. Available in a leather/polyurethane cover, it is $1,499 to $1,599 at retail.

Palliser also is introducing the Imari, a zero-gravity massage chair with eight pocketed air bags, packaged in a sleek contemporary silhouette.

"We have put a face on the technology engineered by Sanyo," said Palliser Product Manager Bryan Rach. The Imari is priced at $2,999.

Palliser also has added invisible "Touch Power" to its motion seating line. Akin to lighting that turns on when touched, the footrest flips out with the touch of a hand across the outer arm panel. The invisible touch option makes a motion piece look more like stationary, Rach said. Offered on leather or fabric frames, sofas with the add-on are priced at about $1,999.

La-Z-Boy and Berkline, using technology similar to the Sleep Number bed by Select Comfort, which relies on air pockets that expand and contract, are offering seating with adjustable firmness.

La-Z-Boy is showing the Profile, a ComfortTouch recliner featuring an adjustable firmness seat and back.

It offers 100 possible "comfort index" combinations via remote control operation. Patented air chamber technology in the weight-bearing areas of the recliner seat and back allow users to adjust the firmness or softness of the cushioning. For the convenience of multiple users, two memory presets on the remote can be programmed to store individual settings.

Outfitted with La-Z-Boy's new Arc brushed metal handle, the Profile retails at $1,949 in leather and at $1,449 in fabric.

Berkline is transferring its firmness seating technology from its regular recliners to its power lift chairs. The company believes that that demographic is better suited to a firmness story.

Berkline also has introduced one of the first swivel gliders with power recline. It joins a motorized glider chair. The swivel glide selection is powered by an Ultramec unit.

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