NeoCon has served as a platform for the commercial interior design industry since 1969. It attracts interior designers, manufacturers, workplace planners and over 400 companies who provide some of the most innovative and thought-provoking solutions in commercial design.
2022 served as a call to return to the show after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. And return folks did. The show was well-attended and offered a number of innovative products to learn about.
5 of this years trends as seen by the PURE team are outlined below. Highlights include:
Privacy, privacy and more privacy spaces
Soft materials and rounded edges
Acoustics and lighting
1. Soft Materials with Rounded Edges were very popular. Even if the materials were hard, rounded corners softened the look and feel. 2. Bright Color covered everything. 3. Playful Design found its way into seating, lighting, tables, coat trees, etc.4. Acoustics + Lighting seem to have found a creative union.5. Privacy Spaces continue to evolve. Booths, Chairs, Custom Fabrics, Hangers and Adjustable Height Mini Work Tables (w/tablet holder) were all included.
And that’s a wrap. The PURE Workplace team learned so much at this year’s NeoCon show. It was great to see so many people back in attendance and the energy of meeting with others in the industry was high. What were your takeaways, trends and observations?“This is really reverse engineering of the human spine.” Budd Tucker, University of Iowa. How does the Embody chair aid in Professor Tucker’s mission to cure blindness and leave no one behind? See the inspiring story in the video below.
Workplace design has the power to help or hinder productivity. One main facet of this is workplace acoustics. The chatter of conversations, typing of keyboards, and clicking of pens can distract employees and ultimately decrease their productivity. Studies have shown that once an employee is distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes for them to fully regain their concentration. A distracted employee is also more likely to make an error while working. So in the day and age of open offices encouraging employees to interact more, we are deemed with the task of mitigating these negative side effects. The solution to this lies in the ABCs: absorb, block, and cover sounds. Open offices often occupy large rooms with hard surfaces for walls, such as brick, glass, or cement. Sounds reverberate and echo off these materials, requiring softer materials to counteract these hard ones. This could come in the form of rubber flooring, carpet, or ceiling tiles. These materials absorb any noise pollutants and diminish the negative side effects of an open office. Wall partitions can also be used to block sounds. Open office spaces are perfect for increasing employee interaction and cooperation, but wall partitions can create that necessary private, quiet space for a distraction-free zone. Altos, Optos, and Focus are all architectural glass wall systems that allow for the customization of offices to facilitate acoustics and design. To cover the noise, air conditioners, heaters, or sound systems will all do the trick. The Lencore White Noise System achieves speech privacy via a spectrum of ambient background noise which masks conversation, keyboard clicking, and other distractions. This white noise combines every frequency of sound, much like the color white combines every shade of the rainbow, to create a symphony of sounds that make it impossible to be distracted by any other audible sound. Stéphane Pigeon, an engineer of natural soundscapes, travels the world collecting new sounds like waterfalls, wind blowing, or insects (yes, such a job does exist). In doing this, Pigeon is designing white noise out of natural phenomenon with the goal of reducing stress, increasing focus, and improving learning. So keep the open office design, but remember the final touch: workplace acoustics. No one wants to listen to your clicking pen or chatter about what you made for dinner last night while they’re trying to fill out an expense report.