NeoCon, one of the most important events for the commercial and design industry, was held from 12 to 14 June at The Mart in Chicago. Keynote speakers included Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post and founder and CEO of Thrive Global, Jessica Green, a world renowned scientist and John Ronan, founding principal of John Ronan Architects in Chicago.
The attendance at the event rose by 7% from the previous year and attendants enjoyed the upgrades to the event’s facilities, which included The Mart’s brand new 2nd Floor lounge, Marshall’s Landing, designed by A+I Architects and operated by DMK Restaurant Group and a new venue for keynotes and seminars on the 19th Floor. There were six new permanent showrooms in the building and 75 new companies joined the exhibitor roster. Sit/stand solutions, privacy pods, ergonomic seating, integrated technologies and high-performance textiles were among five of the top trends seen throughout the show.
“This year’s NeoCon was full of creative energy. We saw a strong increase in designer attendance and a major focus on ancillary furniture. The “thirdspace” movement in commercial spaces requires a new approach, and NeoCon was the perfect setting for us to showcase what we’ve been working on,” said NeoCon attendant Ryan Menke, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, OFS Brands
Rob Kirkbride, editor-in-chief of Workplaces and Business of Furniture magazines, says that the “office revolution” was one of the most prominent trends at this year’s event.
“I’ve never seen a period in the history of this industry where things are changing so quickly and so radically – and it’s all driven by the way people are working,” Rob told Steelcase in an online interview.
Technology is one of the major driving factors behind the office revolution. Thanks to technology, people are no longer office bound or tied to their desks. They can work from anywhere and many manufacturers are creating workplaces that cater to this need.
“The way that company leaders manage their teams is also changing. An increasing number of managers are encouraging staff to work away from their desks,” says Rob.
The way in which people work is also changing. Business is happening faster and companies need to be nimble to keep up with the pace. The office spaces created today are being designed to be taken apart, moved around and shifted by the employees. Office environments are created as Lego pieces with the ability to connect work spaces with other spaces, if and when it is needed, without major design overhauls being made.
Technology such as virtual reality and augmented reality are no longer considered cutting edge. Today’s companies are using this type of technology as a real tool that adds business value. Exhibitors at NeoCon also incorporated virtual reality into their stands so that attendees could experience what their products look like in designed environments.
BEST OF NEOCON AWARD WINNERS
The Best of NeoCon award winners were announced on the 12th of June. The annual competition is sponsored by Contract magazine, NeoCon, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and The McMorrow Reports for Facilities Design & Management. A snapshot of the 2017 winners is below:
Gold: Mohawk for Lichen
Silver: Shaw Contact for Emergence
Innovation: Bolyu for Collaborative Collection
Gold: Tarkett for Apace
Silver: Bentley Mills for The Outskirts Collection
Editors’ Choice: Bentley Mills: Night Vision
Gold: Aquafil for Econyl Pure
Silver: Bolyu for ContinuousColor
Gold: Mohawk for Lineate
Silver: Patcraft for Subtractive Layers
Silver: Tarkett for Ensemble Healthcare collection
Gold: Mohawk for Visual Interactive Studio