Last week was the Commercial Design Industry 50th edition of NeoCon held at the Merchandise Mart! NeoCon is Trade Only and serves as the commercial design industry launch pad for innovation. This year there were 500 leading companies, 50,000 design professionals, and 100 CEU seminars that spanned 3 days (June 11 – June 13th). There were also countless show room parties and events!
If you’re in the design industry I can see why this is the place to be! You get to see new designs debut, attend educational seminars, and network with your peers in the beautiful city of Chicago. I am not in the design industry, but I had a great time and gained insight and tips I can use for my own creativity here at Chi@Glance. There is soooo much to do at NeoCon and so much ground to cover! I want to share with you my highlights and if you’re in the commercial design industry NeoCon is definitely an event to add to your list for next year! www.neocon.com
I started NeoCon a day early by attending the AllSeating Media Preview. Allseating designs seating for EVERY situation. At the media preview we got to mingle with special guests Carl Gustav Magnusson, Nick Gillissie, and Aaron dukes. They revealed their latest work with Allseating.
Check out the Foster Patient Recliner I’m sitting in that was designed by Aaron Dukes design studio. The entire Foster collection encourages comfort, collaboration, cleanliness, and durability, all while making a healthcare environment an inviting, welcoming space. Also, on hand at the media preview was ergonomic researcher Dr. Mark Vettraino giving us his insight into the furniture designs.
Allseating never lets us leave empty handed! Each one of us left with a custom bag designed right in front of us by emerging Miami based artist Lola blu (www.lolablu.com). I love that she was able to incorporate Chi@Glance into her design.
Let NeoCon begin….
My day one of Neo Con I attended a presentation luncheon at Ligne Roset. Acclaimed Los Angeles based architect and designer Clive Wikinson, FIIDA, FAIA shared with us his career, work, and design approach with John Czarnecki (Senior Vice President of IIDA). Clive has designed numerous award-winning buildings and interiors across the U.S., including notable workplaces for clients such as Intuit, Publicis, and Google, as well as his firm’s most recent collaboration for the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago. Clive is from South Africa and shared with us his worldly travels and his work in the design field all over the nation. Such an interesting talk!
Later on that day I had to stop by one of my favorite show rooms at Merchandise Mart….Maya Romanoff. I was first introduced to Maya Romanoff at the Design Center show two years ago. I won a sit down dinner with the Maya Romanoff team. I am soooo in LOVE with their work! Maya Romanoff is the largest manufacturer of handcrafted wallcoverings in the United States. For more than 40 years, their artisans have incorporated glass beads, gold leaf, seashells, wood, and stitching right in their Chicago Studio. At the Maya Romanoff Neocon presentation we got to check out a live painting demonstration and also witness the debut of the newest customization vision… Atelier. (www.mayaromanoff.com)
My day 2 of NeoCon started with Keynote speaker Nicholas Thompson. Nicholas Thompson is the editor-and-chief of media/news outlet Wired. Nicholas is working at the forefront of digital innovation and championing tech’s role in making the world a better place and enhancing our lives. The story of how science and tech will change our lives is one of the most important in the world.
I love that the Keynote speakers come from various industries at NeoCon. Tech and design are so intertwined and Nicholas did a great job in forecasting what the future holds between the two industries. One thing that stands out to me is a story he told us about a talk he had with CEO and Co-Founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom. He asked Kevin what his main goal for Instagram is and Kevin replied “To make Instagram Kind.” Case in point there was an online feud with Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian. Kim’s fan’s put Green Snakes all over Taylor Swift comment section in Instagram. Taylor Swift contacted Kevin and asked for them to be removed. Kevin came up with a code to remove the snakes from Taylor’s page. In the near future their hoping to make a code us normal folks can use to automatically remove unkind comments from our page. It sort of seems like censoring, but the goal is to make Instagram a friendly place…other sites like Facebook and Google will probably follow suit. I think in theory it’s a good idea, but might have some kinks in the beginning (like what things get censored). Such an interesting presentation!
Along the same lines of innovation and technology….I stopped by Jabbrrbox to check out their cozy technology equipped private workspace. This workspace for one is plush, quiet, and designed for the mobile workers of the world that need a better work environment on the go. They have these workspaces at LaGuardia Airport and now we have two installed on the second floor of Merchandise Mart right next door to Marshalls Landing. This is such a neat idea of private workspaces, equipped with technology you can rent. There are so many people I know that would love this….
My last seminar I attended at NeoCon is right along the same topic of innovative workspaces. Have you ever used a coworking work space? Coworking is an alternative to the traditional office and has been characterized as working alone, together. In 2018 over one million people worldwide will work in coworking spaces. 40% or all workers will be freelancers or independent contractors by 2020. I attended a seminar hosted by Maureen Monhollen and Dr. Caren martin on Who Benefits from Coworking and the trends and challenges. This is such a good topic for the design industry because more and more often they will be seeing more projects geared towards coworking spaces versus your normal corporate work environment.
Neocon was such a great time. Congrats on their 50th year celebration! We had a great time at “The Future Is” party that was hosted Tuesday night on the south side of Merchandise Mart. So many people gathered to celebrate 50 years of Design. Until next year! Cheers to 50 more years!!!!
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