9 TRENDS WE SAW AT NEOCON 2017

BY ERICA BOATMAN, MARKETING COORDINATOR

Continuing last year's emphasis on "resimmercial" design, manufacturers pared down the number of workstations showcased to make room for giant sectionals and booths, occasional & collaborative tables galore, and tons of soft seating - plus, macramé, of all things.

Don't believe me? Check out my top trend picks below. 


1. THAT'S A YUUUGE SOFA

Gigantic modular lounges and sofas consumed a large portion of showroom square footage, providing glorious respites for all the first-timers who didn't listen to their mentor's many shoe warnings. Bernhardt Design teamed up with Airbnb founder, Joe Gebbia, for a new line called Neighborhood, Davis won a Best of NeoCon Innovation Award for  their Q6 Collection by Jonathan Prestwich, and Haworth picked up an honorable mention at the HiP Awards for Riverbend Lounge - all of which provide seemingly endless configuration options. Here they are along with some of my other favorites: 

 

2. THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Two unspoken rules: You can't accessorize without succulents at NeoCon, and you can't design a bunch of giant sofas without providing matching ottomans on which to put your feet. Check out these adorable mini-me's:

 

3. BABY, YOU CAN STYLE MY BOOKCASE

In this digital age where textbooks come in PDF form, entire corporations are run paperlessly, and even your grandmother has scrapped her cookbooks for Pinterest recipes, one can see how empty, abandoned bookshelves might easily turn into display cases for an office's cultural artifacts and collections rather than actual book storage. With their resurgence, I'm happy to see these casegoods working double-duty as freestanding room dividers and partitions. Take a gander at all the stylized bookcases that caught my eye: 

 

4. DIVIDED WE STAND

Providing flexible and mobile visual and acoustical privacy is a must in an open office concept, and with the trend ever-growing, manufacturers are responding with products in all shapes, sizes, and materials. BuzziSpace's BuzziPleat was a crowd favorite, filling up social media feeds and taking home both the gold in Contract's Best of NeoCon Acoustic Panels & Solutions category and a HiP award. Also recognized with HiP awards were Carnegie Entrada, a 3D laser-cut acoustical drapery and hanging panel, and LOFTwall Flox.

 

5. MY ROOM'S GOT ROOMS

Manufacturers aren't stopping with screens and acoustical panels for workplace privacy solutions. They're coming up with all sorts of enclosed and high-backed "hubs" that support both individual and small group work. Newcomer Jabbrrbox made a name for themselves with a new take on the private office for mobile workers, Darran earned a HiP award for Bota Lounge, and OFS Heya won Best of NeoCon Silver in the Furniture Collections for Collaboration division. And while Patricia Urquiola's Openest Collection for Haworth will always be #1 in my heart, I discovered a new favorite: Oblivion by Turkish manufacturer, Koleksiyon. 

 

6. SHE'S GOT LEGS

Angled legs, that is. I honestly don't know if there was a single straight-legged table in the Merchandise Mart this NeoCon. Angled or A-frame legs adorned every new conference table, standing-height collaborative table, and benching system. Award winners include Andreu World Radial Conference (Best of NeoCon Gold), Decca Gait Conference (Best of NeoCon Silver), HBF's Simple Writing Desk (Best of NeoCon Silver), and HBF's Ami Conference (HiP honoree). 

 

7. STACKS ON STACKS

Everybody and their mother came out with a new stacking chair this year and each manufacturer chose to demonstrate this by putting their towers of poly and metal on stage. Davis won the Best of NeoCon gold for Reed Stacker, with Andreu World coming in close second for Lake. Also, somebody needs to give Leland Amadeus a certificate for the tallest stack on display - 19 chairs high! 

 

8. I'm BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT

Though workstations were few and far between, those that were showcased each housed a task light, and lounge vignettes almost always included some sort of table or floor lamp. Haworth Collection recently expanded their portfolio through a partnership with Pablo Design Studio, adding several new task lights, including HiP honoree Super Light, while Humanscale took home a Best of NeoCon silver for their Infinity Task Light

 

9. SOOOO KNOTTY

As someone in the middle of their first adult macramé project whose style is never described as "trendy," I find the timing of this highly ironic. But seriously, whether it was used as a room divider, art or even to hang plants from the the ceiling, it was everywhere. So buy some rope and brush up on your knot techniques, because a macramé class is probably in your future. Here are just a few examples:

 

What trends caught your eye at NeoCon? Have a favorite piece from above? Post your thoughts below!

And, of course, if you have any questions or would like more information about any products or trends, feel free to email me at erica@encompas.com.