NeoCon 2015

Knoll's classic tulip arm chair & side table. 

Knoll's classic tulip arm chair & side table. 

As Carly said, last week was a busy week for both of us! I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in Chicago exploring the city, but more importantly checking out the commercial design industry's most important event - NeoCon! The show takes place in the Merchandise Mart downtown, and is HUGE! The show includes educational seminars, presentations and more product launch than you can imagine! The showrooms are filled with all things related to interiors from carpet to lighting, and everything in between. The hardest part of the trip is remembering everything and where I saw it! Every year, new trends appear while others continue to grow larger than before, and like many things commercial design eventually translate to other forms of design at some point or another. Carly and I do retail and hospitality design, but trends can fall into any category - fashion, automotive, residential or industrial design. I took hundreds of pictures, but I thought I would share some of my favorites that I am hoping I can incorporate into some upcoming projects whether personal or professional! 

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Overall, the use of bold color and texture were found everywhere, but it was a lot of fun to see how each brand transformed it into their own products & space. A few trends that seemed to pop up throughout the show was organic movement, whimsy and my favorite - metallics! One of my personal favorites was Shaw Carpet. The showroom was divided down the middle showcasing a bold, playful pattern to the left (bottom right image above) and to the right a more serious, yet sophisticated pattern composed of dimension and subtle variations. Both were inspired from nature, but so different yet stunning! Another fun element was seeing more "lounge" type furniture in a commercial setting and how those were translated. The top right image, OFS played with color and a french welt that gave the oversized sofa an interesting detail, while Knoll used felt to create a space (bottom left) that was intimate, quite and playful all at the same time! 

The images above are all quite sophisticated with a bit of metallic mixed in, yet each one is from a different space. However, these were some of my favorite details seen throughout the show. I think many think that if you add a metallic element to a piece that it will become cheap or girly, but these pieces show that it only adds dimension and another level of detail. Even with the metallic details, there is very much an organic, natural quality throughout each piece though. Nothing seems to be exactly perfect anymore, but more a mix and match of nature and man made. I was also very excited to see gold and brass details, whether it was a treatment on leather or an entire chair dipped in brass! 

Overall, the trip was a wonderful whirlwind of design that I couldn't get enough of! There was so much to see, and so many new interpretations. It was also wonderful to spend some time with other designers and run into old friends during the show. If only it would have been a few days longer! What is your favorite new design trend?  

Happy Designing!