The 49th annual NeoCon has concluded and its 50,000+ attendees have returned home, eager for what the future holds in commercial interiors. As one of the largest and most pivotal furniture trade shows in North America, NeoCon showcases the latest products, ideas and industry trends. The event, held annually at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart from June 12-14, caters to an array of vertical markets and draws interior designers and architects from around the world.
Outlined below are four industry trends currently circulating throughout commercial design. We’ll touch on how these trends made their way into the 2017 NeoCon showrooms and the new products that will emerge in the coming months.
Balance Within Office Culture
Work environments are becoming increasingly flexible in order to offer greater autonomy for today’s diverse workforce. Not everyone works the same way and providing a variety of options for differing work styles is vital to overall productivity and company success.
The opportunity to choose where and when to work, along with the availability of flexible and mobile work spaces, can lend a hand in helping employees find balance in the office. Changing requirements within the workplace require adaptable furniture. Modular soft seating, workbenches, desk pods, collaborative and breakout furniture, and acoustic elements are all examples of office furniture that boost a high performance in the adaptable workplace.
Health & Wellness
The health and well-being of employees is paramount when designing a work space as it can directly affect an organization’s productivity and overall moral. Designs that promote movement and foster social connection are key in building a healthy, employee-centric environment.
An increasing number of businesses are also taking cues from nature and incorporating biophilic design into their work spaces to increase overall employee health and wellness. Studies have shown that integrating natural light and materials, views of the outdoors, and greenery into a modern built environment is a great way to refresh a work space and help occupants feel invigorated. Not only is the use of biophilic design mentally beneficial, it also impacts employee physical wellness by improving air quality, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure levels and heart rates.
Multi-Generations in the Workplace
Employee engagement plays a key role in achieving overall organizational success in the multi-generational workforce. While most businesses realize the importance of engagement, a recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that three-quarters of surveyed business leaders noted their employees were not highly engaged. For an organization to cater to employees of varied ages and create engagement, it is important that their work space does the following;
- Allows flexibility and mobility in work styles
- Celebrates individual and team contributions
- Provides opportunities for engagement and spaces for collaborations
- Provides a third space for relaxed interaction and independent work
- Clearly communicates organizational goals or objectives
In creating an inclusive culture to meet the needs of each age group and thus encouraging engagement, collaboration, and learning, organizations can more effectively attract and retain employees of all generations.
The ever-evolving category of technology continues to play an indispensable role in our lives, both at home and at work. With wireless charging technology becoming popular and the availability of furniture that allows seamless technology integration, work spaces are becoming increasingly connected and functional. The importance of this sector and the solutions it offers will certainly see an uprise, especially as younger generations continue to flood the workforce.
Furniture & Showroom Trends
The 2017 NeoCon showrooms were, as always, flooded with eye-catching furniture with a focus on ancillary pieces. Shades of plum and blushing pinks were draped throughout multiple vendor spaces, while boutique-like bronze and gold finishes also started to make an appearance. Modular designs and various touch-down areas encouraged mobile and flexible work styles. Work stations and collaboration areas were heavily personalized with paper management, accessories, and various lighting options; all highlighting the industry’s shifting focus to ancillary options.
Here are a few examples of how vendors incorporated industry trends in their showrooms.
Kimball incorporated a little bit of everything in their North Wells Street showroom. They showed off resimercial furniture with their Boyd and Bloom Lounge lines, desktop ancillary options, and integrated technology throughout many of their seating, desk and table options. We tried out the Pairings Lounge chairs with tech arms and found they offered just the right amount of privacy and convenient integrated technology in case our cell phones needed a quick boost. The living wall within the hospitality area quite literally offered a breath of fresh air.
A bright palette of colors and clean geometric shapes welcomed us into the Allermuir showroom. Show attendees were perched on every inch of the Paver Sofa System, demonstrating its use as a flexible and collaborative work space. The newly introduced Tarry lounge chair offered a sense of privacy and relaxation in an otherwise boisterous showroom. Multiple industry trends could be witnessed throughout the space, including modular soft seating, black furniture frames, and various touch down areas that welcomed a variety of work styles.
The JSI showroom brought the feeling of home into the work environment, offering a contemporary, free-standing lounge collection with residential styling aesthetics. We felt inclined to sit back and relax in the new Indie lounge pieces and rest our tired feet on one of the many colorful, plush poufs that were scattered throughout the space. JSI showcased the industry’s focus on ancillary option with a display of hanging magazine pouches, lighting options, mobile purse hooks and flush, mounted marker boards. Freestanding privacy panels depicted a sense of seclusion, creating a “space within a space.”
Mayline – Safco
Bold orange chairs and accessories lined the Mayline-Safco showroom. A mix of traditional worksurfaces and innovative pieces were illustrated to encourage movement and collaboration. The newly unveiled Atmosphere Collection, which includes modular seating, benches and individual chairs, faciliates engagement and the freedom to flow seamlessly from meeting to relaxation. With a robust Active Collection and a wide variety of furniture options, Mayline-Safco has everything needed to make a smooth and stylish transition between spaces and postures throughout the day.
Pops of vibrant orange and yellow invigorated our senses in the Global showroom, where space utilization and flexibility was the goal. The newly introduced Global Duet stacking table offers the optimal flexibility in a learning or training environment, speaking to both the education and corporate markets. Paired with the Popcorn chair in the showroom, the tables are lightweight, easily stacked and can be specified to gang together. A pair of bold, yellow Vitrola chairs with matching accent pillows followed the resimerical trend with its classic, finely tailored design. The River Personal Harbor, a new addition to the River series, has the ability to integrate power and provide a feeling of privacy, giving users the option of mobility throughout their workday.
New Product Review
(clockwise from top left) Nash Stool, Lusso Chair, Narrate/Theo Lounge Chair
(from top) Pairings Perch, fiXt Table/Dwell Ottomans
(clockwise from top) Famiglia Soft Seating, Tarry Lounge Chair, Mote Credenza, Jinx Soft Seating
(clockwise from top left) Indie Lounge Collection: Lamp Table, Single Seat Leg Lounge/Accent Pillows/Triangle Table, Round Pouf, Low Lounge/Two Seat Leg Lounge/Triangle Pouf/Bourne Stools
(clockwise from top left) Ridge Guest Chair, NYC Standard Lounge, Verve Chair, Ridge Lounge Chair
(clockwise from top right) River Personal Harbor Lounge Seating, Spritz Task Seating and Zook Table, Vitrola Lounge Seating
CDI is a cutting-edge commercial furniture dealership that believes thoughtful design and strategic planning are critical components in the success of every project. We can help companies achieve their business vision and goals and help maintain your workplace investment. CDI creates functional and inspiring interiors designed to foster employee well-being, productivity and engagement.
CDI is a “Select” Kimball Office dealer. The “Select” status is Kimball’s premier dealer designation, which demonstrates dealership excellence in sales, service, financial stability, business processes and more.
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