Each year at NeoCon is uniquely different from the last. Elevator and wayfinding jokes aside, from within the hallowed halls of the Merchandise Mart, NeoCon is the perfect excuse to see what’s next and rub shoulders with industry experts.
A person can walk in several pairs of shoes at NeoCon – as a student, exhibitor, and professional attendee. To recap the #PWNeoCon2015 experience, we’ll dive into the “largest commercial interiors show in North America” wearing each of these three
From the student perspective, Fred Schmidt (Global Corporate Interiors Practice Chair) and Aimee Eckmann (Senior Project Architect) co-hosted a NeoCon seminar, “The Continuum of Learning + Working.” Their conversation revolved around the interrelatedness between learning and workplace environments, and how the behaviors and functions within those spaces are increasingly intertwined, making how we learn and work a linked process from childhood to adulthood. In fusing their expertise in both areas of practice, Fred and Aimee discussed innovative and thoughtful solutions impacting their environments, and articulated the design decisions intimately connecting their “worlds.”
In our exhibitor shoes, Knoll hosted a social gathering in their showroom, spotlighting furniture and desk systems, and welcoming guests to KONTOR’s Private Beta Launch Party. KONTOR (Danish for “office”) is a new, visually-oriented design resource for the commercial interiors industry, presenting the latest products through inspiring photography of office spaces around the world – think Houzz fused with Pinterest. Within the showroom itself, Knoll built off last year’s “choice” and “active design” themes by showcasing their connected and responsive desk systems. With the “work anywhere” philosophy permeating throughout, most (if not all) Knoll desk systems were sit-to-stand with a press of a button, supporting wellness and healthy living.
On the professional attendee front, Interior Design magazine hosted their second annual HiP Awards (HiP = Honoring Industry People and Product) on the Sunday leading up to NeoCon week. To celebrate the 2015 nominees, attendees enjoyed local fare, drinks, and live music on the new South Drive riverfront at the Merchandise Mart. With the awards show recognizing designers and manufacturers in over 47 categories, Perkins+Will was ecstatic to hear that we had two very hip people in circle (although it came as no surprise to us!): Joan Blumenfeld was honored with a HiP Award in the “Leader Designer/Workplace/Health & Wellness/Education” category, and Eva Maddox was bestowed with the “Lifetime of HiPness Designer” award. See the full list of winners here.
Who knows what kind of shoes we’ll walk in next year, but you can be sure that over three days of pounding the hallways and showrooms of the Mart and event spaces we’re ready to kick them off! Let us know what you got up to in the comments.