NeoCon unfolded over June 15 to 17 at Chicago's Merchandise Mart with 450 exhibitors, among them six new permanent showroom tenants and 100 premiering exhibitors. EAL checked in with attending designers to discover what was wowing the trade crowd at this year’s fair.
Caravaggio Pendant Light Fixtures by Cecilie Manz for Hightower
Designer Suzanne Lovell found a handful of newly discovered favorites—the Caravaggio Pendant Light Fixtures by Cecilie Manz for Hightower, for one: “I love the large scale and high-gloss lacquer finish, not to mention the red cord,” she shares. Also on her list: The Trestle Collection by John Pawson for Viccarbe (“John Pawson’s minimalist designs are always inspiring. Here, the oak and leather pairing is luxurious”), and Edelman Leather Shearling Mongolian, which she describes as “Spanish lamb, tanned and dyed to perfection! Endlessly soft and elegant in the blue-gray tones with natural white.” The Ikaros Sofa by Koray Malhan for Koleksiyon also earned her praise: “With wide, wing-like arms that double for work surfaces, the Ikaros Sofa is a great solution for the computer work that we all do at home and perfect for the office too.”
OFS Brands' Langston chair, designed by Stacy Garcia
Designer Stacy Garcia spotted a number of trends. “We are seeing continuation of last year’s biggest trend in the creation of individual workspaces and pods as a way to escape from the noise and distraction of open-concept floor plans. The new versions of these office pods have become even more progressive and have integrated technology and new features,” shared Garcia. “Another way to counteract the collaborative workspace trend is partitions. As far as fun goes, BuzziSpace wasn’t shy. Their new room dividers, BuzziFalls, are an exciting solution to open-floor-plan environments while adding personality, pattern and acoustical properties.” Garcia also noted a color trend: “We saw everything retro, from mints to avocados, mustards and rusts to a range of pinks and mauves. The standout for us was a dusted blush pink,” best illustrated by OFS Brands' Langston chair (designed by Garcia) and by multiple chairs from Geiger Furniture.
Designer Barton tests out the Jumpseat at NeoCon.
Designer Anne-Marie Barton listed innovative seating solutions, among them the Sediasystems' Jumpseat: "Love the way the bend flows so gently. It’s the single most favorite item at the show for me. Besides specifying these immediately for an office space/conference room for overflow guests, I want to grab two for my son's room!" Another of her finds, Steelcase's rotating sofa has private seating that "offers contour to mundane layouts." Barton also noticed a spa-inspired trend, exhibited in Coalesse's calming showroom as well as OFS Brand's "comfortable setup with mix-matched relaxed style."
OFS Brands' NeoCon showroom
Scenes from E Ink (left) and Haworth; courtesy Ashley Snyder
Ashley Snyder of Ashley Lauren Design Studio chose Haworth as one of her top exhibit picks, calling it a "beautifully curated cohesive showroom, through and through. Their display not only highlighted the gorgeous aesthetic of their product, but was on trend (possibly even ahead), functional for multiple uses and, most importantly, timeless." Another must-see of Snyder's was the E Ink Prism booth: "Talk about forward-thinking! It is by far the biggest convergence of design and technology at this year's show. E Ink Prism has transformed traditional designs into dynamic experiences, and they're just getting started. It is a completely one-of-a-kind device I will always want in my projects whether residential or commercial."
Next year’s NeoCon will take place June 13 to 15, 2016. Learn more.