NeoCon, the leading voice of the commercial interiors industry, offered attendees in Chicago an insider view into the driving forces behind design progress and what will shape shared spaces next. Floors shares some of the most impactful trends shaping today’s offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and healthcare facilities. 

Designing across generations 

With Gen Z projected to make up a third of the workforce by 2025 (Manpower Group, 2023 Workforce Trends Report) and older generations retiring later, designers, facility managers and other specifiers must cater for an expanding community with diverse needs and expectations. There is a demand for spaces and products that offer opportunities to connect and collaborate, while also allowing users to accommodate their personal wellness goals and feel more balanced. 

Laura Leung, WELL AP and designer of IA Architects, predicts that intentionality and authenticity will be key factors in designing for the younger generations, especially in the office. 

Creating with a conscience: Prioritising ESG 

Increased education and visibility around not only humanitarian issues in production but also the harmful environmental impact of many companies’ business practices, has led to an uptick in prioritising environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles in what people build, purchase and use.  

The American Society of Interior Designers’ (ASID’s) 2023 Trends Outlook notes that the public does notice and care when a company does not uphold ESG principles and ideals. Some would actually take actionable steps against a company they felt was disregarding ESG issues. Manufacturers that demonstrate a sense of social purpose and a commitment to good stewardship of the planet take centre stage over those whose design and developmental practices avoid these important humanitarian tenets. 

Top themes from NeoCon include generational design, designing with a conscience and globalisation. 

Globalisation brings people closer to each other 

Technology has allowed the world to feel more connected, with brands and companies taking a more global perspective. Improvements in Web3 technology have allowed design firms to build out virtual office extensions for workers to utilise around the globe and products are designed to reflect the changing demands of a more interconnected, digital age. 

Brooke Horan, principal at HDR, listed globalisation as an important trend for the future of work. “With our increased ability to connect virtually across so many time zones and countries, companies continue to become more global. To future-proof their organisations and stay competitive, they need to stay on top of new technologies that help create consistent, supported workflows across continents and multiple cities.” 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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