Jul 29, 2022
NeoCon wrapped up last month right here in Chicago and our design and architecture teams made the most of one of our favorite local trade shows. NeoCon has served as the world’s leading platform and most important event of the year for the commercial interior design industry since 1969 – bringing together designers, brand execs, architects, manufacturers, and vendors for three days of inspiration, CEU-accredited education, and exceptional networking.
Every year, CDA's team attends to meet with reps, explore new material solutions, and stay up to date on the latest trends in commercial design. From the new offerings launched by permanent residents at theMART to the many displays and booths set up for NeoCon we took in all five floors of flooring, wall finishes, fabrics and more. Whether you attended in person, virtually, or are just curious about what went down, Chipman Senior Designer Amanda Kosiba and Project Associate Roy Mwale have a recap guide with everything you need to know.
The Big Picture
Many long-standing trends held their own with slightly different motifs. As we've seen with our own hospitality projects, several trends that emerged early in the pandemic have continued to blossom and flourish as the design world continues to address how we can live and work in a world during and post-Covid.
Here are a few trends we saw:
Curves and especially in their architectural iteration, the arch, were on full display. Historically, arches are used to heighten the experiential qualities of the built environment. When used in furniture and textile design, the arch conveys grandness while also providing the comfort of a recognizable form – especially when used with warm and soft tones. From meditative enclosures that encourage quiet reflection to bold wayfinding markers that signal transitions within spaces, arches continue to be multi-functional focal points.
Despite a clear emphasis on neutral tones, color isn’t dead. Bright and bold colors were still very much part of displays and in some case appeared to be the focus. Coming from comforting neutrals over the past few years – the expression and energy of a bold color feels welcome.
Due partially to the pandemic and the safe feeling of outdoor spaces, along with an increased desire for balance with the natural world, one of the clearest trends of recent years has been biophilia. NeoCon proved this point – biophilia was everywhere. From green walls to planters, to influences on the built environment and textiles, the influence of nature was omnipresent. In a world still recovering from Covid and quarantines, the need to feel connected to nature and our world gains a new priority.
On the heels of Covid, there has never been a more emphasis on getting outside. Over the last few years everyone has prioritized outside spaces – both because the open air provides additional Covid protections and because many of us were stuck in one place for so long we got used to upscaling our outdoor environments. Outdoor environments have become an escape from the stress of close spaces. With increased attention on outdoor spaces, we're seeing more and more 'resitality' — a merging of the hospitality and residential so that outdoor hospitality settings feel comfortable and homey. Outdoor spaces have become such a familiar comfort, brands like Kettal are even taking cues from the great outdoors for interior spaces.
While bold colors remain a focal point, we're also seeing a continued use of neutrals. That said, the neutrals we were seeing at NeoCon are trending toward warmer natural textures inspired by nature. We believe this is a combination of two trends. First, rusty mauves, warm grays, clays and creams are are an interesting twist that evolves the grays and beiges that may be outstaying their welcome. Secondly, the warmer colors and natural textures are an extension of the comforting biophilia resulting from an increased awareness of the outdoors and our relationship with a changing climate. We can't wait to find a use for the beautiful Wood Skin from Carnegie!
Whether it's a full return or hybrid work from home – we're all rethinking shared spaces. As architects and designers, we're always looking for solutions that are as elegant as they are efficient. After two years of isolation and working from home, architects, designers, fabricators and vendors are reimagining shared spaces with a new set of needs for safety, privacy, and environmental responsibility. From innovative implementations of hands free technology to the dedication and separation of space, we're seeing a trend toward thoughtful exploration of function in novel and attractive packages.
With NeoCon's home at theMarts close to our Des Plaines, IL headquarters our design and architecture fueled minds descend on the three day convention like it's hospitality design Coachella. As fun as it is educational, NeoCon keeps us up to date on new and continuing trends while informing not only our ever growing palettes but often directly impacting current projects. We hope our recap has been as fun for you to read as it was for us to write!