Last week, several Carson Design team members ventured to The Mart in Chicago, Illinois to explore the latest commercial design and business trends at the NeoCon 2017.
Following is a list of our top product and design finds from this year’s event.
Flooring Across the Showrooms by Abbey Kochert
This year, I was completely blown away by the featured flooring in the showrooms. Although flooring isn’t always the first finish one sees when stepping into a space, it has the ability to transform the spatial experience no matter the project scope. Specifically, I noticed:
It was so delightful to walk into Milliken’s showroom and be introduced to such a practical, aesthetically pleasing product. An OBEX brand modular entry tile system, Quadrus is designed to stop dirt and moisture at the door, while allowing easy removal during maintenance. Design should start as soon as someone walks in the door, and Quadrus truly elevated “walk-off tile” by providing designers the opportunity to achieve this aspect of holistic design. I cannot wait to utilize it moving forward.
This new Kinetex line was stunning! The movement of the design, in and of itself, was absolutely beautiful. Is it wood? Is it marble? We’ll never know. Kinetex is an advanced waterproof composite flooring, making it great for multi-family housing units, gyms, or practically any space where spills are prone.
Embracing the work culture shift, Bothy actively encourages its users to switch up their environment. Reminiscent of a small shelter, Bothy can be utilized to define intimate or informal areas dependent on the existing user and environment. Its simplistic construction creates a warmth within the space, inviting its users to “take shelter.” Both can be customized to include wood panels, writable surfaces, sound-absorbing panels, and upholstery.
Design With a Cause by Kelly Lea
It’s great to see when great design partners with great causes, especially when you’ve been personally impacted by the organization.
Mayer Fabrics has been partnering with “Common Thread for a Cure,” donating two percent of every Positive Collection sale to this wonderful organization that offers grants to designers with breast cancer to support individual needs. In 2014, I was blessed by one of their grants. It was great to see how Mayer Fabrics supports their design community!
Sometimes simple is better. I liked this simple laptop table that Boss Design offered, with its clean lines, simple design, and height adjustability.
This 4+ Relax chair by Dauphin not only felt comfortable to sit in, but also reclined. A small lever along the seat pan allows the user to lock the chair in the preferred reclining position. This chair also included a foot stool and an auto-rotation return feature.
Increased Usability and Function by Reagan Long
While I didn’t see many new, groundbreaking ideas, I felt like the manufacturers were building upon and improving existing designs to increase the usability and function. Specifically, I saw:
- A continuation of the trend in creating more homey, comfortable residential-like spaces that incorporate desking or mobile tables to allow people to work in a more relaxed setting.
- Acoustical designs continue to expand in popularity—everything from lighting fixtures, feature walls, curtains, to high back seating.
- The ability to connect and recharge also continues to grow and expand with technology. There were several portable charging systems that would allow you to charge your phone, and more and more furniture allowed more flexibility, by incorporated power and data into the pieces.
Tables, Seating, and Acoustic Pendants by Nicole Sybouts
My top three finds at NeoCon ranged from seating, tables and acoustic pendants.
The Buzzispace space included several felt, pleated discs for sound reduction that could be used on a wall, light fixture, or ceiling décor.
A fairly new manufacturer, Boss Design showcased a height adjustable pull-up table, which I believe could work great for a current client of ours!
The fun styling of this little table from Sandler Seating also stood out to me. The base came through the glass top to form a loop.
Flooring and Seating by Andrea Cole
My top finds at NeoCon this year include:
DL Couch: Source One Vertex Wallcovering
Walking into the DL Couch showroom and seeing Source One Vertex Wallcovering in person was impressive, specifically the amount of depth and visual texture. It also included a very geometric tessellation of shapes, which made it even more intriguing. This wallcovering will be great for clients who want a striking feature wall, but may not have the budget for real wood.
Patcraft: Deconstructed Material
The Deconstructed Material collection by Patcraft allowed the carpet backing to peak through (hence the name). While Patcraft has released this material before, this time they increased the visual impact by adding a metallic baking that reflects through the carpet fibers, creating more visual textures, dimension, and contrast. I wouldn’t be surprised if his product took carpet innovation to the next level.
In their space, Groupe Laccase included a great display to show how versatile and flexible their modular seating pieces can be, including multiple varying heights and lengths to create nearly endless combinations. I really enjoyed how Groupe Laccasse explored the vertical possibilities for seating and created more variety in their pieces by offering a multitude of heights. Their modular seating also included a small inward taper at the base to create space for the more natural position of people’s feet and legs. The pieces were also light enough to move with ease, but heavy enough to keep them stationary when in use.
Seating and Fabrics by Hilary Jenson
A few of my favorite finds included:
Enwork Standing Height Table and Conference Table (Equilibrium Table Base)
The Enwork tables were a great example of zero interrupted knee space for meeting spaces, showing how much engineering and design went into this table to make it look and function well. The design very clean and also exhibited the strength of the material used to span up to a 20-foot table without any interruptions below.
To showcase the concept behind the fabric design of their Art of Board collection, CF Stinson revealed funky and creative design concepts where they took discarded skateboards and made tiled combinations to inspire their storyboard fabric within the collection. It exhibited many different color combinations that you might see on the bottom of a skateboard. The three60 fabric within the collection also displayed unique inspiration from the positive and negative of graphics you might find on a skateboard. These tiled pieces were cut into circles to inspire the overall pattern.
Acoustic Solutions, Carpeting, and Collaboration Workstations by Cynthia Rumas
After much thought, here were my top items this year:
BuzziSpace Acoustical Solutions
BuzziSpace caught my eye with their new lighting solutions with acoustical properties, such as BuzziPleat. The BuzziSpace showroom also took a turn from the ordinary with metallic accents and finishes with dark, earthy tones.
This year at NeoCon, Interface introduced the carpet of the future. While the industry has focused on environmental impact for many years, many of those products simply emitted negative gasses or were neutral. And that’s great, but Interface took it a step further by introducing a carpet that removes carbon from the environment. Although it is still in its conceptual stage, this product promises serious environmental benefits. I am excited for our industry to be playing such a key role in the commitment to sustainable solutions.
Heya Lounge by OFS
The Heya collaboration space created a welcoming space for connection and group work. Its profile and design was visually soft, limiting the interruption of workflow. Also, it is worth noting that the seating was very comfortable!