Neocon: 50 Years of Tomorrow’s Designs


Last week, our design team traveled to Chicago, IL for the 50th edition of NeoCon. NeoCon is the world’s leading platform and most important event of the year in the commercial design industry. This show features products and services from both prominent and growing companies, as well as up and coming businesses introducing unique finishes/furnishings. In addition, industry experts provide seminars on today’s most relevant topics and trends.

The gathering space is the Merchandise Mart in the heart of Chicago. Nearly 1 million square feet, and twenty-five floors, our team walked over 15,000 steps to see countless vendors and zero in on this year’s trends. Here are our top four takeaways:

  1. Companies continue to pay close attention to space optimization, posing the question, “How well are you using your space?”. With the ongoing trend of large open spaces, many vendors continue to offer private, see-through pods and acoustic fabrics. Although these products can still create the impression of an large open space, they introduce more private and intimate spaces, minimizing background sounds.
  2. Furniture with built-in outlets and desks with colorful pop-up outlets, make it easy for people to access electricity without having to leave their couch or desk.
  3. Sustainability and creating an eco-friendly environment continues to be important to many vendors/businesses. Products made out of recycled materials and green “living walls” were prevalent throughout the show. These moss-filled walls offer an aesthetically intriguing natural boost to morale, while acting as natural air filters. They also reduce noise levels as the vegetation naturally blocks high-frequency sounds.
  4. We were particularly impressed with the amount of new and fashion-forward light fixtures on display. Many new materials and shapes were introduced. One of our favorites was the circular pendant made out of real quartz crystals. (see below)

We left NeoCon that day with tired feet, but inspired and full of ideas for current projects on our plate. 

Need inspiration or want to know about more current trends in the commercial design industry?