Top Trends in the Commercial Design Industry: NeoCon 2019

Last week, our interior designers Jillian and Stephanie traveled to Chicago, IL to attend NeoCon 2019! NeoCon serves as the commercial design industry’s launch pad for innovation—offering ideas and introductions that shape the built environment today and into the future. After walking through hundreds of showrooms and listening to numerous seminars, our designers let us know that NeoCon 2019 did not disappoint.

With thousands of new products and services in categories including Furniture, Fabrics, Flooring, Interior Building Products, Interior Finishes and Technology being introduced to the industry at this event, there was so much to take note of! Here are the top 7 trends that took over NeoCon and caught Jillian and Stephanie’s attention—

Height Adjustable Tables

All of the major furniture showrooms had height adjustable desking solutions that can be customized for each individual. Each were controlled by a button on the work surface that allowed the desk to go up and down as well as preset settings and height display in inches. This was shown on all types of desking solutions from private office to bench style desking.

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Plant Walls

Plants were a very common theme throughout NeoCon, especially plant walls! Plant walls allow for people to be one with nature in a corporate or higher ed setting. There is a big push for biophilia in the industry in order to meet requirements for WELL certification and just an overall good feeling of being one with nature. There were tons of plant walls seen throughout the showrooms, but potted plants, air plants and hanging plants were also a common accessory to room set ups.

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Pastels & Textures

Pastels were a huge trend this year (and we’re here for it)! Corals, light pinks, avocado green, gold/yellow and baby blues were all very popular in fabrics and metal finishes. The Pantone color of the year this year is Living Coral, and a lot of the fabrics throughout the showrooms reflected this new toned-down, pastel style. Textures were also a very common theme at the event. A chair with a textured fabric gave it the look of being “resimercial” (commercial w/ a residential look to it) which made the chairs look and feel very comfortable while serving a practical purpose.

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Stone Accents

Stone accents were popping up throughout showrooms on office walls and office desks. Some of these products were actual furred out stone slabs (as shown on the backdrop of the private office desk solution, but also shown as plastic laminate on desk returns (as shown on the KI desk). It was all about incorporating different textures other than woods to give that soothing/comfortable feel.

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New Finish Options: Woods & Metals

Black and brass metal finishes as well as warm walnut woods were so popular at NeoCon. Chrome and satin nickel finishes are a thing of the past after this year’s NeoCon. The darker frame paired with a darker wood desk system gave an overall warm feeling to the space, making it inviting and “homey”. The brass finish made the desk systems look very special by providing a typically custom finish as now a standard option on a lot of furniture pieces. Walnut workstations are not necessarily a new trend, as walnut has been a popular finish for the past couple of years, but this new pairing gives the wood finish a brand-new look!

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Peace & Quiet: Phone Booths

One of the most common themes we saw this year is private spaces for individuals or small groups to gather in order to have private conversations or alone time in the office. Phone booths were popping up in almost every showroom, providing acoustically insulated units where people can take private phone calls or just breathe for a minute. A lot of these units were set up to have an individual work space, such as a small counter with an outlet and lighting. Some of them, depending on the size, had open louvers at the top which allowed for the space to “air out” when not in use. It also provided a code friendly environment, as many of these were hooked up to fire alarm systems, and the open louvers allowed sprinklers to access these spaces when required.

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Leather Accessories

Leather pulls were one of our favorite accessories that were incorporated into desk systems and lounge areas. Some of these leather accessories were a feature item on a piece of furniture, while others were just provided for function. One great example is this cabinet door pull. This is something we both noticed right away and fell in love with! Other accessories included little leather pulls on a pouf or stool which allows users to drag an item to a desk or next to someone else in order to collaborate.

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NeoCon is always such a fun event for our interior designers to attend and they look forward to going every year. Thanks Jillian and Stephanie for sharing all of the NeoCon fun, and keeping us up-to-date with the design trends of 2019! After seeing the latest innovations that came to The Mart in Chicago this year, we can’t wait to see what new and exciting products and services are going to be brought to NeoCon 2020.