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NeoCon 2017 Highlights

Design Trends

The world of commercial design descended upon the great city of Chicago, during the annual NeoCon trade show event. The largest international commercial trade show provided attendees with another year of inspiring design, architecture and furnishing product trends. Here are some of the key highlights we noted:

This year the spotlight was on generational changes to the workplace – the idea of free-range workplaces and stations in a variety of movable parts, as well as innovative ideas as to what makes an optimal working environment. Why is the set up of a workplace so important? Less than half of the employees in the U.S. workforce enjoy their workplace environment, and more businesses than ever are employing four and five- generations of workers. These complicated factors lead to the questions of what the future of the workplace will look like and how can employers integrate a variety of solutions for tomorrow's workplace, including the use of innovative and far-reaching technologies.

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The main demographic for workplace introductions was the millennial generation, though discussions began on the future Generation Z workforce. Many open collaboration environments targeting millennials were displayed, along with redefined working areas to create unique, playful meeting spaces that include ergonomic, movable stools and the jungle-gym style steel structure called BuzziJungle by BuzziSpace. This innovative company has done it again by coming up with another unique and fun way to enjoy work as a lifestyle.

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In other areas of NeoCon, color was everywhere! Yellow was strong in all workplace products in a range of tones from gold to bright highlighter yellow to light, lemony yellow. Blue, blush pink, melon and orange-reds were also shown in product introductions. A variety of pastels was also on display.

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Design was highlighted in a variety of themes – from the night sky and planets, to abstract geometrics. The traditional florals took on a new depth with digitized abstracts in everything from rugs to fabrics. And many products took on more of a residential look (a continued theme from last year) in a range of effects, from quilting, to hexagons, to plaids.

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Materials selection focused on expanded acoustical panels selections with inventive uses in a variety of styles, such as free-form geometric formations. Soft and hard materials mixed together showed on a variety of products, and natural hardwood materials were everywhere. Also, a return to some of the layered traditionalism is beginning to carry over from residential trends into the commercial world.

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Overall, it was another innovative year for the world of commercial design.

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All images by Sara McLean