Last week NeoCon celebrated it’s 50th edition as the world’s leading platform and most important event of the year for the commercial design industry. We headed off to the Merchandise Mart to explore all the trends and designs of the past year and got to interact with hundreds of others in the design community. Over 500 companies showcase their best work in furniture, fabrics, flooring and technology. Please continue reading below to see what trends we found at this year’s NeoCon!
New Trend: Tailored Radi
NeoCon 2017 was focused on large and over sized pieces. This year we saw the same size but with a more tailored and clean finish. Although the pieces were huge, the detailed and precise stitching provided a more custom looking design that we weren’t seeing last year.
Taut fabrics stretched over larger pieces.
Enlarged Weaves + Stitching
Comparatively, as we saw the large, tailored radi we also saw enlarged stitching on smaller pieces giving them a heavy feel and texture. Pictured below: a sound barrier piece uses thick weaving fabric and a lamp uses large “X” stitching giving both a bold presence (lower left).
Updated 1970’s Color Schemes
A familiar trend we saw again this year was the retro 1970’s design and use of color. The burnt orange coupled with a wood finish and contrasting accent colors was used by several of the exhibitors. Seen below, a salmon orange noise barrier is used to create separation from one room to another and creates privacy for the contrasting emerald living room set.
Steelcase won Best in Competition and & Booth Design at this year’s NeoCon by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Their creative use of green at their booth took a familiar monochromatic theme and put a slight twist on it. Rather than having one color dominate a space, they used several different variations of the color and then offset it with a pop of intense red. You can see this SteelCase trend below with the ombre rug, the large radi ottoman, and the bright red end table.
Felt made it’s return from last year’s show with more textured designs and pastel colors. The popular fabric was used as room separators, stretched across end tables and used as desk dividers. With it’s soft texture it is perfect for absorbing sound and creating modern spaces in the office.
Another crowd favorite that returned was the incorporation of geometric micropatterns. The textured designs were seen on everything from couches to storage space to wall designs. Triangles, Braille pattern, and arrows all gave the furnishings a unique display. Below, the orange sofa seat blends textured micropatterns and uses a 70s inspired color scheme and design.
New Trend: Integrated Technology
Over the past few years we’ve seen technology fused more and more into office furnishings. Last year exhibitors tried to make the technology (outlets, cords, USB ports, etc.) as discreet as possible and almost completely hidden. This year the technology was integrated more into the pieces and was a subtle, but flush, accent. Some designs include a leather covered outlet against a wooden table, USB/outlet hubs with plastic sliding covers, and one of the better designs: a reclaimed wood conference table, split down the middle, with a sunken outlet panel just out of view.
Twist on 2017 Trend: Semi-Private Spaces
If you read our trend write up from last year’s NeoCon you know that privacy pods were a huge design trend for the modern office space. With open layouts and collaborative work spaces being more popular, there has been a need for more individual employee privacy. As mentioned, we saw felt privacy walls that absorb sound and are semi private (with different geometrical cut outs) and below we see the shift from completely private to semi with opaque sliding doors that allow the room to be partially visible to completely concealed.
Opaque sliding doors give just a peek of what’s on the other side.
Noise Dampening Single Spaces
We’ve come a long way from phone booths; now we are seeing the use of trendy and high quality fabrics and materials to create noise dampening individual space. With office space moving away from independent work areas, there’s a need for optional privacy. Below, we again see the use of felt, 70’s inspired colors and large patterns to create personal space.
Low Sitting Spaces
Combined with indoor gardens (more on that next), low sitting spaces create a modern Bohemian feel for living rooms. The coffee tables are only a few inches above floor and more casual sitting options, like bean bags, complete the relaxed feel of the room.
Bringing the Outdoors, In
One of Beyond’s latest projects has involved indoor hydroponics system so we were excited to see the exhibitors at NeoCon put so much focus on bringing outdoor staples inside the home. Hanging plants, stylish planters, and metal framing were all brought indoors giving a refreshed and vibrant look to kitchen and living room sets.
New Trend: The Evolution of the Standing Desk
The benefits of standing at work started changing the way employees perform and we’ve seen the integration of standing desks in many offices. The side effects of sitting all day have gotten people on their feet and investing in desks and accessories to help back pain, reduce heart disease, and to be an overall healthier individual. This year we saw the standing desks take it to the next level. The user interface has transformed into a sleek and discreet panel and the overall mechanics of the desk allow it to operate with less cords and less equipment.
Closing Out NeoCon 50
If you enjoyed our NeoCon Trend Report please sign up for our mailing list here. We post blogs weekly and articles monthly as well as attend design shows and expos in the Midwest. We had a great time at NeoCon this year and are excited to see what designs are released next year! Keep an eye out for our June article later this month.