NeoCon reveals some exciting trends that affect various commercial sectors, from healthcare facilities to offices.
The 46th edition of NeoCon held in Chicago in June was a resounding success, delivering a fully immersive commercial design experience that went above and beyond, illuminating cross-industry, societal, economic and psychological trends.
With attendance up by 20% the halls of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart were on a roll with specifiers, facility managers, manufacturers, clients and media from across the globe. Close to 50 000 industry professional gathered to see the latest product introductions for commercial design, network with industry peers and take advantage of the stellar line-up of keynote and educational offerings.
“This year’s show really brought out the best the industry has to offer,” says Byron Morton, Vice President of Leasing for NeoCon. “From cutting-edge technology to a complete re-imagination of traditional office environments, while innovation was at the forefront.Businesses, large and small, get the importance of design, and the attendance at NeoCon 2014 is testament to that. Our permanent and temporary investors responded to the uptick in the economy with creative solutions for key vertical markets from office to education, hospitality and healthcare. Solutions on display at NeoCon focused on empoloyee wellbeing as well as productivty.”
Trends revealed at NeoCon
Sarah Gerber, Senior Associate at FXFOWLE Architects, elaborates on the changing corporate design landscape, noting, “Technology is having an enormous impact on furniture design, especially through ergonomics. The trend is not necessarily about incorporating technology, but responding to how we position ourselves when we use these technologies. In addition, the ‘performative’ workplace is becoming a balanced workplace as organisations seek to find the right proportion of interactive and focused work. The future of the workplace is not a “one size fits all” approach; rather, it’s an innovative response to the growing amount of data at our disposal.”
“Authenticity is fast becoming another overarching trend for all demographics,” adds Monk. “Consistency in appearance and experience used to be the most important quality for hotel chains to convey. The idea was that wherever you went, a name brand looked and felt the same so guests could take comfort in the familiar. These days, with technology and the Internet giving us access to an array of information, imagery and virtual experiences, travellers want to authentically experience the culture of the locale in which they are staying. Firms have responded to this desire by focusing on brand and property distinction while creating unique experiences and products that tap into local flavours.”
This renewed focus on human-centric outcomes for end users – the patients and their individual needs as well as the healthcare professionals who work in these environments every day – is bringing about a shift in scale from large umbrella hospital campuses that house every type of care, to individual clinics and ambulatory care facilities. Meanwhile, patient surveys indicate the desire for medical environments that are less sterile and “clinical” and more like a home. Designers are responding with solutions to improve experiential and usability factors for patients and their caregivers. These include decreasing noise and increasing privacy, providing more natural light, improving the accessibility, movement and ergonomics of furniture and equipment, enabling multitasking, and creating surfaces that are easier to clean.
For more information visit www.neocon.com