What was Trending at NeoCon 2023?Kristin Crane
NeoCon 2023 was energized and exciting this year, with even more people attending than in 2021 or 2022. We spent most of our time in the booth but made time to get out and explore The Mart and see what was trending at NeoCon 2023. We noticed three main trends.
Trending at NeoCon 2023
With each year, there have been more and more acoustic solutions. This year they were everywhere. What was different, though, was how much fun manufacturers seemed to be having with them. There were acoustic solutions that almost appeared as art installations to wildly customizable or interactive ones. No more boring felt rectangles, acoustics were cut into surprising shapes, hanging from the ceiling, digitally printed, or used as partitions.
Employers are still trying to crack the code on how to get employees back into the office. In fact, Steelcase put together a whole magazine called Beyond Hybrid to discuss the changing landscapes of offices with lots of data points about what employees expect from their employers. The challenge for interior designers is making an office worth the commute. One way they think about it is by considering the office more as an employee experience than a place to do tasks. Employees want quiet, permanent workspaces for focused work. They also want room for collaboration or socializing when they need it.
Health & Wellness
Wellness in the workplace has quickly become a priority for employees. Interior designers are addressing this with ergonomic furniture being the norm, plants and nature being part of the landscape, and quiet spaces for focused work. Wellness in the workplace is also a considerable focus for healthcare workers. Historically, these spaces were designed with an emphasis on the patients. But the pandemic has highlighted the incredible levels of stress workers experience. They need private, quiet areas to recharge and decompress.
What about materials?
Regarding materials, sustainability continues to be a significant motivator. Designers want to spec materials manufactured with less waste that have a lighter environmental impact. I found designers more educated and interested in how materials and furniture are manufactured. For example, Haworth had artisans in their showroom making chairs in real-time, with huge crowds! The Metropolis Sustainability Lab also highlighted a few interesting new materials, such as yarn made from mill waste and another made from recycled fabrics at the end of their life cycle. The nitty-gritty of yarn manufacturing used to be something only super geeky textile folks cared about, but now more designers are curious about it.
There are lots of visuals on Pinterest.
Over on Pinterest, we created a board dedicated to items that won HiP Awards, Best of NeoCon awards, and products that generated a lot of excitement at NeoCon. Did I miss something? What was your experience at NeoCon? What did you see trending?