NeoCon Buzz

Gretchen Wagner

NeoCon season has come and gone yet again and I’m still buzzing. Not sure if that’s the prosecco talking or all the inspiration. Every company puts out their latest and greatest for all to see and the months of preparation lead to an exciting three days of what feels like endless cocktail parties, tired feet and most importantly great design (not bad, huh?).

Top of my list every year is the Maharam showroom. This year (like all years) they delivered, but most notable was the teaser of leathers and hides that will be launching later this year. Soft suedes in the most yummy colors you could imagine were scattered amongst woven patterns practically begging you touch every piece of material hanging in their showroom.

The design trend of hackable furniture from Milan two years ago is ever present in the workplace – everything is in the user’s control now and at the touch of a button no less. Lift and lower workstations give every individual the opportunity to work at their own level (literally). Space is getting limited and the solutions are clever and dual purpose. Functionality and form are married at this point and there’s no turning back.

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll. Photos courtesy of Knoll.

Modularity is key for the user to express themselves. Think movable walls that also have acoustic features, seating than can be stacked in a variety of functions and tables (with handles!!) that are light enough to lift and move around. Privacy barriers that double as hidden storage and cozy nooks that can expand into collaborative areas. I’m speaking about Knoll’s collection “Rockwell Unscripted”. The collaboration with David Rockwell has solidified this trend. Inspiration coming from Rockwell’s innovative scenic designs for Broadway theater not only inspired the collection but also landed him a Tony Award less than two weeks earlier. Talk about cross-disciplinary design (drool).

BuzziSpace launched some playful office products including a topsy turvy balancing surface that keeps your body agile while taking those lengthy conference calls. Also the adult equivalent to a jungle gym in the office kept showgoers entertained. If it wasn’t for the fear of scuffing my brand new Campers, I would have shimmied my way to the top in a heart beat.

I’m still excited about monochromatic color palettes that showcase varied textures, patterns and materials all mixed together in simple coordinating color palettes. Maybe I’m just geeking out that my years of color theory have finally come to fruition, but I’m seeing it across the board at Vitra, West Elm Workspace, BuzziSpace and Steelcase not to mention in retail and small businesses via Instagram. Is it possible that the year of ALL colors is upon us? Of course there are some notable standouts; mandarin, tomato, tangerine and everything in between still raves on and the soft pastel upholstery mixed with walnut and teak are ever present in the continued obsession with mid-Century modern.

Take a swing over to our Pinterest page for continued visual inspiration and we’ll see you in Chicago – same time, next year. XoXo.

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