NeoCon 2015 – Editor’s picks

NeoCon 2015 has just wrapped up its second day and our eyes and ears are still buzzing with the plethora of colours, materials, products and captivating stories behind the collections we have seen so far.

While we compile our full report on the show, here’s a sneak peek at the brands and designs we found particularly inspiring.

Starting with Herman Miller, who won NeoCon’s gold medal for best showroom for the third year in a row. The concept behind the display is simple yet resonates strongly: the brand analysed the Living Office concept by recreating various workplaces based on customers’ real environments, as well as their needs and wishes. The resulting rooms make visitors stand in front of the editorial space and say, “This is me, this is how I work and this is exactly the system I needed”.

Such work resulted also in the Exclave collection, a series of products designed to make collaborative spaces more integrated and performance-enhancing, such as a series of panels mounted on rails that are stackable, movable, tabbed and basically applicable to any empty wall across an office. For creative offices, it may be time to retire the well-used, much-pierced cardboard panels!


Next door to Herman Miller and next in line in our editor’s highlights is Haworth – the Michigan-based company continues its collaboration with renowned designer Patricia Urquiola and gives a great make-over to its showroom at the Mart with a sophisticated yet colourful palette and a constellation of product islands. Details take centre-stage here, with a refined selection of vintage and contemporary props that complete the designs and bring them to life, as well as plenty of plants to enliven the space.

Textiles are a focus this year with a fruitful collaboration with colour and fabric expert Giulio Ridolfo, adding a tactile and textural dimension to the collection. Patricia Urquiola’s Poppy chair won a HiP Award for best workplace seat, with a soft shape and rounded edges that bring a residential look to home offices, workspaces and lounge areas. Haworth also introduced Bluescape technology, a revolutionary infinite visual collaborative workspace conceived to share and interactively work on a screen from remote locations anytime. Another highlight in this vast showroom was a dazzling installation by Osman Khan – his Chromastream table uses an algorithm to read object colours and movements on a table surface and therefore project and distort them in a continuous stream of colour.

From one big name in design to another: we admired Konstantin Grcic’s collaboration with textile brand Maharam as well as furniture manufacturer Vitra, both shown at this edition of NeoCon. For Maharam, Grcic explores hi-tech non-woven fabrics and their potential for interiors, which results in futuristic designs of wonderful detail and three-dimensionality.

At Vitra, Grcic’s work was quite unexpected, considering the usually minimal and refined aesthetic of the Swiss brand: previewed at Orgatec last fall, the Hack prototype office desk caters to startups that have very low budgets and very high flexibility demands. Purposely rough and unrefined, the desk is made of plywood modular panels that are adjustable by a simple system of knobs, pulls and straps; when not in need, the system collapses into a folded box shape. It is simple yet ingenious, ideal for shared workspaces, rapidly evolving young offices and even student rooms.

The richness of pattern also stood out this year across the show: abstract woven designs take over upholstery and drapery in the contract, healthcare and office markets, with bright and colourful motifs. These create an unexpected yet welcome accent for workplace chairs, desk panels and waiting rooms. Among the many brands on show, Knoll Textiles stood out with a vibrant collection designed by David Adjaye. After collaborating with Knoll on furniture in the past few years, Adjaye brings his many years of travels across the whole African continent into colourful, textural fabrics both woven and digitally printed, comprising two wall coverings, two draperies and four upholstery patterns. The African inspiration is palpable, and the display set-up also contributes to communicate the beauty of the palette and the richness of the textures.

There is so much more to share from a very inspiring edition of NeoCon, and WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers will be able to view our full report on the tradeshow next week.

– Gemma Riberti


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