Neocon is the commercial design industry’s launching pad for innovation. Each year manufacturers, dealers and customers alike gather at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, offering ideas and introductions that shape the built environments of today and tomorrow.
This year, we observed 5 key trends from NeoCon 50 that will be influencing buying behavior this year.
Today, companies have to work to attract and retain talent, and one way they’re learning to do that is by creating hospitable and entertaining work environments. Perks like a warm, inviting workspace with proximity to other like-minded employees could be a huge pull to acquire new talent.
Knoll’s theme for NeoCon was “Hospitality at Work.” Migrating away from the buzzword “resimercial,” their phrase is a more pleasant, elevated means of saying corporate office spaces are becoming more inviting and familiar.
Knoll’s acquisition of the Muuto line is a perfect example of Hospitality at Work and brings synergy to the overlapping needs of everyday office workers and travelers staying in hotel rooms. The soft colors, delicate textures, and overall residential feel of the line will blend beautifully with Knoll’s quality workstations and contract furniture.
Office furniture of the past can conjure feelings of rigidity and lifelessness. This year’s NeoCon featured soft lines, curved edges and corners, and undulating forms that feel natural and amicable. These approachable forms are taking shape across the backs of chairs, on screens, dividers, tabletops and even in lighting.
Muuto’s beautiful lighting is a wonderful representation of organic shapes. From their pebble-like Fluid Pendant Light to the collapsible Unfold Pendant Light to the delicate Leaf Floor and Desk Lamp, they featured curvy lines, material that bounces back and naturally imperfect shapes.
Manufacturers are picking up on the design trend of flexibility and taking it a step further with agile products that exceed client needs. Agility is defined as the “ability to think and understand quickly,” and employees want a workspace that configures in an agile, adaptable way.
There is a wow factor when you see highly functional, agile products. These products allow users to make grounded decisions about their needs right now, while still being able to dream of future possibilities. They’re comforted knowing they aren’t stuck with something that will wear out or go out of style.
Pixel™ Table Trapezoid
The Pixel™ Table Trapezoid Formation was a complete “WOW!” product that viewers could interact with and create their own format.
With the rising emphasis on WELL and LEED certifications, designers are focused on making spaces that not only meet these requirements, but also look and feel like they meet the criteria. Adding in local elements and flair that is unique to a company’s brand is important to end users. By offering a variety of finishes and pops of color, a company can exude their brand through workplace design.
Knoll’s wide range of textiles and Spinneybeck + Dukta, a new collaboration of wall-covering and screen installations that manipulate natural materials into a flexible, textile-like form that adapts to applications for walls, ceiling panels, free-standing screens and acoustic installations.
This year, manufacturers are defying expectations with eclectic shapes and patterns to keep offices lively and fresh. One thing that stands out in my mind is KnollTextiles.
Their installation wall featured bugs and plants created from a smattering of different fabrics and wall coverings, including new as well as classic patterns. One playful conference table featured a mix of chairs from micro suede to velvet and boucle fabrics that complemented each other, with emerald and lime greens that bounced off of the deep turquoise tones across from them. The blend was lively, sophisticated, and, most of all, original.
If you’re moving to a new office or simply want to refresh your brand to attract top talent, call us to get paired with a designer who will help bring your office into the now.