NeoCon 2016 has come and gone, and this year was nothing short of a whirlwind. It’s amazing how quickly NeoCon approaches each year, but before you know it, your two full days of viewing new products, socializing with your reps and enjoying the beautiful city of Chicago are over.
As our two interior designers and I were prepping for our fourth year at NeoCon together, we commented on the fact that the NeoCon process was definitely something that we’ve fine-tuned but no matter how many times you attend this event you have to mentally prepare yourself for the fast paced and sometimes overwhelming design environment. Whether you are ready for it or not, the hustle and bustle of the Merchandise Mart as soon as you walk through that revolving door really just hits you in the face. However, it doesn’t take more than two minutes to get your mind right and become NeoCon focused.
We started NeoCon off by going and visiting a few of our favorite reps in their beautiful showrooms. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that patterns and bold colors were going to be the reoccurring theme at this year’s show. It is really refreshing to see flooring, wallcovering, fabric and furniture companies stepping outside the box with their products after having to play it safe the past couple of years. It is safe to say that the design industry is back!
Wallcovering & Fabrics
Mayer Fabrics – Out of all the showrooms we went through this year, Mayer Fabrics had one of the most memorable simply because it had very eye-catching fabrics and a fun story behind this year’s showroom design. They featured their Vollis Simpson Collection which is a collaboration between Mayer Fabrics and Sunbrella Contract. The collection celebrates the amazing metal sculpture artwork by the late folk artist, Vollis Simpson. The sculptures known as Whirligigs were displayed throughout the showroom and the patterns of this collection each depict aspects of these metal sculptures. The whole showroom felt fresh and almost kid-like which was very fun!
D.L. Couch – Our friends at D.L. Couch are some of our favorites to visit during NeoCon and their showroom is always popping with color. This year wasn’t quite the same with not getting to see our amazing rep Jaimie, but their featured fabrics and wallcovering did not disappoint! The textures, designs and colors that they had on display this year were awesome and they had an abundance of samples to show. D.L. Couch, as well as several other textile companies, displayed a lot of vinyl fabrics with a large variety of patterns and colors that disguise the look of typical, boring vinyl fabric.
From the mind-blowing digitally printed LVT at Tarkett to the terrazzo floor fake-out at Patcraft, our flooring vendors really upped their game at this year’s NeoCon and we are not one bit mad about it. After visiting a few of our key flooring vendors, which includes Patcraft, J+J Flooring Group, Tarkett, Mohawk Group and Bentley Mills, it was clear that they were all ready to show NeoCon attendees flooring that they hadn’t seen before. Each flooring showroom had the typical LVT and carpet tile that everyone enjoys looking at, but each of them had something special that spiced things up just a little bit. Some of the designs and colors of these collections were very much unexpected but a welcomed surprise!
Collaborative. That is the first word that comes to my mind when I think of the office furniture we saw at this year’s NeoCon show. Furniture is one of my favorite things to see at NeoCon as well as test of course. We pop in to a lot of different furniture showrooms throughout our two days at the show just to see what everyone is coming up with. Most of our “furniture viewing” takes place at the Kimball Office Showroom with our wonderful rep Amy. We spent a good part of our first day at the show looking at all of the new, innovative pieces that Kimball was coming out with. One of the biggest changes in furniture that we saw this year was the integration of technology. It will be really interesting to see the combination of office furniture and technology grow even more in the next few years. There was such a variety of pieces in the Kimball Office Showroom. They really have thought of something for every scenario in an office setting. The furniture was not only fully functional, but also very attractive and comfortable!
I can’t do a NeoCon blog without getting some designer feedback! Read what one of our interior designers, Lindsay Schenkel, had to say about this year’s NeoCon and the design industry overall.
What is one thing that you took away from this year’s NeoCon?
When I reflect on this year’s NeoCon all the color and pattern is the first thing that comes to mind. Manufacturers were pushing the envelope with bold colors in fabric and highly patterned LVT. It was refreshing to see the color and pattern in products that were usable in all markets, not just hospitality.
After experiencing NeoCon 2016, what is one thing you are most excited about for the future of the design industry?
Technology is making a huge impact in design! I was wowed by how real the 3D viewers we saw at Kimball were. I felt like I was actually in the space which will be a game changer for clients who have a hard time visualizing what is in the designer’s head. Technology has always been present but mostly in how it works for the user with the furniture. This new tool for planning was very exciting!