NEOCON 2017 HIGHLIGHTS TOP COMMERCIAL OFFICE FURNITURE TRENDS
Every year, members of the commercial office furniture industry and enthusiasts alike count down the days to June when all of the movers and shakers of the field unveil the newest and brightest products for the upcoming year. As expected, NeoCon 2017 dazzled its attendees from June 12-14, as thousands of shining new products were showcased inside the nearly one million square feet of exhibition space of The Mart in Chicago, Illinois. Over 500 leading companies were represented, boasting this year’s design and technological innovations in furniture, textiles, building materials, lighting, wall coverings, floor coverings, outdoor products, accessories and more. Since 1969 NeoCon remains the most important event of the year for commercial design, serving as the world premier platform to show what’s next for the upcoming year. Surpassing attendance number last year, Neocon 2017 attracted over 50,000 professionals, crowding The Mart’s three floors of showroom space, halls and other exhibitor areas—cementing its reputation as one of the most attended trade shows of its kind. Here are this year’s NeoCon’s top commercial office furniture trends for 2017.
1. REFINED QUALITY
As we continue to pursue a higher level of quality in our every day living — from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the cars we drive — the growing trend in commercial office furniture now demands better quality in both construction and design. From the selection and use of finer materials, down to the precise details of stitching, manufacturers at NeoCon 2017 showcased products with a conscious effort to offer innovations that were more refined.
2. SHIFT TO RESIMERCIAL
The ongoing trend to achieve an anti-corporate look in the workplace was evident throughout the NeoCon 2017 showrooms. Many manufacturers onboard the resimercial shift were showing products that attempt to make commercial offices feel more like home—while still maintaining a sense of professionalism. But in contrast to what we’ve seen from its earlier years, materials have now been upgraded, soft seating better refined, colors more sophisticated, and textures more appropriate to address the workplace. In short, resimercial design is growing up and has become more intuitive.
3. TONED DOWN COLORS
The past couple of years have thrown a kaleidoscope of bright colors into the office design mix. Now, the in-your-face bold hues have somewhat retreated to make way for more muted tones to come back into the scene. NeoCon 2017 saw pastel hues like blush, mint, corral and baby blue combined with black and varying shades of gray, along with touches of earth tones. Interior designers, it seems, have taken back the helm from color enthusiasts to offer a more subdued, refined palette to commercial office design.
4. BACK-TO-BASIC MATERIALS
This year’s show reflected our continued romance with things that are organic. The use and addition of raw materials were evident in numerous showrooms, celebrating the beauty of natural colors, unique textures and organic imperfections. Wood continues to make a comeback, and its presence everywhere at NeoCon was stronger than ever. As one of the biggest players in the resimercial shift, it continues to add the warmth that has been lost in the corporate office for quite some time, and is being shown with cleaner lines in more elegant, modern shapes.
5. METALS GALORE
Fashion’s love affair with metals, especially gold, have slowly been trickling down this past year to commercial office design. Now the floodgates have opened as NeoCon 2017 sparkled with bronze, gold, rose gold and copper—adding an excitingly rich, sophisticated and even retro feel to modern office furniture.
6. ONGOING COLLABORATION
NeonCon 2017 upheld that we will be seeing more and more collaborative spaces at work. Manufacturers showcased a plethora of innovative new products to accommodate and promote new ways of sharing ideas and working together. From conference rooms to training areas to lounge spaces, collaboration is definitely key in today’s workplace.
7. QUIET SPACES
As walls come down to open up more collaborative ways of working, the need for secluded, quiet spaces also continues to emerge. Workers seeking refuge from the constant buzz of open plan offices can look forward to innovative new office furniture and spaces especially designed for those private phone calls, intimate meetings and moments of solitude.
8. USB POWER
USB is quickly becoming the office king. Its universal ease of use is making it the reigning standard for on-the-go professionals to conveniently plug in for power. Expect to see more USB chargers implemented in everything—from soft seating, to lounge areas, to lamps. If there’s a place it can be added to, you’ll be sure that someone will.
9. CONTINUED INNOVATION
While industry giants such as Herman Miller, Haworth and Steelcase continue to lead the way in commercial office design, expect to see the rise of smaller companies competing for the limelight. These last couple of years have seen underdogs wow and impress, and we can all be happy to look forward to more incredibly innovative and noteworthy products in the future of commercial office furniture design.
Interested in more? See the complete list of The Best of NeoCon 2017 Winners by Contract Magazine.