Trendspotting at NeoCon 2022

Orange wall with words that read NeoCon, Design makes a statement

Trendspotting at NeoCon 2022

NeoCon 2022 was a vibrant and fun show. After the quiet halls of 2021, it was a welcome and energizing change of pace. Though we spent a lot of time in Booth 7­–3050, we did manage to escape to the other floors of theMART to do some trendspotting at NeoCon.

What did we see trendspotting at NeoCon 2022?

Acoustics

Acoustic solutions were everywhere. We think two things inspire this trend. First the shift in years past toward open offices. Second, many people returning to offices have grown used to quieter home offices. As employees return, designers are helping them adjust with sound softening elements.

This year, we saw a lot more color in acoustic solutions. We also saw companies playing a lot with shapes and making acoustic elements more structural and fully integrated into the design of the space. Companies experimented with cutting panels into exciting shapes and printing them with designs. There were even interesting pieces to serve multiple uses, such as hanging plants or tools.  

A Best of NeoCon winner, Func is a good example of acoustic getting creative and mixing with biophilia.

Biophilia

Biophilia has been a growing trend as people realize how much having nature in your life improves your mental and physical health. This year, it was interesting to see how this trend moved beyond simply incorporating plants into décor. We spotted many examples of plants being a permanent fixture in a space, such as entire moss walls.

We also spotted creative approaches to bringing nature into a space they want to benefit from nature but can’t use actual natural items, such as healthcare facilities or high-traffic rooms like university community spaces. Rather than incorporating real plants, designers are bringing nature indoors with fabrics featuring natural motifs and textures that evoke feelings of nature.

Transparency in Manufacturing

Sustainability is here to stay. You can’t even mention it as a trend anymore; it’s a driving force in the industry. As consumers become more conscious of how their decisions impact commerce, designers demand different solutions, and manufacturers invest in developing better products. This year many manufacturers were being transparent about their manufacturing practices. They highlight the materials used in a product and how they sourced those materials.

People are also thinking about the circular economy. Where does our furniture go when we’re done with it? What’s the environmental impact of disposal? These questions are leading people to decide to buy fewer, better-made pieces. They also want fewer single-use pieces and more multiuse, versatile furniture.

Many office layouts felt loungey, modern, and relaxed.

Experiential Office

At NeoCon 2021, designers were trying to figure out how to make spaces adapt quickly to changing situations and give employees the space they needed when everyone returned to the office. In 2022, people are wondering if they’re even returning at all. Many employers want people back in the office and are trying to figure out how to make an office space enticing enough for people to want to commute into the office. As the boundaries between home and work become more porous, how do people want to live and work? Today’s employees have experienced a work-life that felt more balanced, and that’s more important to them now than free snacks or happy hours.

To tackle this problem, designers are trying to create a better experience at the office than in employees’ home offices. Some showrooms called this idea “The evolving workplace” and others the “Experiential office space.” Another asked, “Is your office commute-worthy?” Another described creating “The social office.” In general, offices are becoming more casual, more comfortable, and ultimately, more optional.

We’ve got you covered on Pinterest.

Over on Pinterest, we created a Pinterest board featuring all of the HiP Award winners, a selection of Best of NeoCon winners, and those named Metropolis Likes by Metropolis. If you’re curious about what we saw trendspotting at NeoCon, you should definitely check it out.

Were you at NeoCon 2022? We’d love to hear what you saw and thought. What themes stood out to you? What colors did you see trending?

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