For the last 50 years, NeoCon has been known as the interior design event of the year. Taking place in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, Neocon houses almost one million SF of exhibition space for commercial design manufacturers to showcase their latest products and trends to the design industry.
Jo Cho and I were lucky enough to travel to Chicago to attend NeoCon this year to get a glimpse at the up and coming trends designers can expect to see on the rise. These are just a few of those trends that caught our eyes throughout the Merchandise Mart.
Biophilic design uses elements of nature within a built environment to improve overall health and well-being of the users. Over the years, research has proven there to be an increase of productivity and quality of work when users are in a comfortable, healthy environment. We saw elements of biophilic design throughout the showrooms at NeoCon. We saw lots of plants and living walls, natural woods, organic shaped furniture, graphics of nature, textiles with colors of nature and/or patterns of abstract elements of nature. The Haworth showroom actually had a “Wellbeing Room,” which incorporated natural material, colors from nature, living plants and comfortable furniture to encourage users to re-group, connect and focus.
“Resimercial” products could be found throughout showrooms at NeoCon this year. Resimercial is a term used to define products that have a residential aesthetic but is suitable to live in a commercial environment. We saw sofas, chairs, ottomans and tables that could be seen in your home but are made to withstand the beatings of a commercial environment. Area rugs were paired with furniture throughout in order to warm up the space. Common upholstery selections ranged from leathers, suede, and soft/loose upholstery.
Graphic patterns had also seemed to be a common theme throughout the show. Applications of the graphics we saw ranged from textiles to area rugs to glass and more. These graphics fluctuated in scales with some using very bold, bright patterns while others chose to be more subtle and monochromatic. When chosen thoughtfully in terms of scale, color and application, these graphics can really bring some unique personality to a space.
With open office floor plans taking over workplace design, there is a growing need for privacy and acoustical solutions within these open plans. A variety of solutions were found from different exhibitors at NeoCon, with some solutions providing either mainly visual or mainly acoustical privacy while some were able to provide both. With the flexibility to change the degree of visual or acoustical privacy, these solutions make it simple to tailor to a client’s specific needs, whether that be a conference room, private office or phone booth. I’ve found that solutions focused on creating visual privacy seemed to have more creative design opportunity, like the slatted wood image below. However, solutions that were completely enclosed, like the Framery and Jabbrrbox, definitely provided the best acoustical privacy.
Thank you NeoCon for a wonderful event, and we look forward to attending next year!