Getting up-to-speed on green design at NeoCon

April 1, 2003
Going Green at NeoCon
After successful launches at IIDEX/NeoCon Canada and NeoCon West, the GREENlife™ pavilion concept will debut for the first time at the NeoCon World's Trade Fair. Sponsored by IS magazine and designed by HOK, GREENlife has been created to help designers learn more about environmentally friendly or "green" products. Attendees can visit the GREENlife exhibit on the second floor, which is dedicated to companies that recognize the importance of green design and features products for sustainable environments.HOK Chicago, one of the leading design firms that advocate the integration of sustainable products and resources with creative design solutions, is creating this exhibit area, which will showcase all GREENlife participants. HOK first participated in a NeoCon GREENlife exhibit last fall for the IIDEX/NeoCon Canada event; the Los Angeles, CA, office participated in the design of the pavilion for NeoCon West. By having local HOK offices work on each exhibit, the intent is to have it take on a local flavor.For its debut in Chicago, HOK Chicago's John Hopkins, AIA, senior designer, and Barbara Burnette, IIDA, interior designer, have accepted the GREENlife exhibit challenge.According to Hopkins, the pavilion is constructed of scaffolding and biodegradable landscaping fabric. The scaffolding is rented and thus uses only manual labor to install and remove—no material resources are spent in its use, just human energy.

The landscaping fabric used is similar to burlap and is stretched between the
scaffolding elements to separate the booths. The material has been used at other NeoCon shows and will be saved to be used again at NeoCon East in the fall.

The added benefit of the scaffolding, he said, is that it creates a consistent skeleton at each booth that allows for different display techniques. For example, some vendors will hang material or signage from the pipes, while others will suspend products from them.

"Unlike standard exhibit spaces, there will be two open areas that will highlight a mixture of products to express the variety and depth of green products in the marketplace, not just the raw materials, but the manufactured products that use the materials," Hopkins noted. "The variety of exhibitors will show the breadth of activity and interest in this market and reinforce to visitors that sustainable design is not just a fad."

Companies participating in the GREENlife Pavilion at press time include: Beaulieu Commercial, Dow BioProducts, EcoSurfaces, Geiger, Green Access Floors, HOK and the U.S. Green Building Council.

NeoCon attendees have additional avenues through which they can explore green products as well. The fourth annual Green Walk, an informal tour of showrooms or exhibits that highlight a special eco-friendly product, event or exhibit, will be held on Tuesday, June 17. Participating companies, which are listed in the Green Guide to NeoCon, (available in the first floor magazine bins and at the GREENlife exhibit), will have knowledgeable representatives on hand on Tuesday to discuss all aspects of the company's environmental initiatives. (Some participating companies will have "green"
representatives available at other times during NeoCon, but Tuesday has been set aside to guarantee attendees the chance to talk with a knowledgeable representative.) Just look for the showrooms and/or exhibits with the Green Walk decal on the window or in the exhibit, then ask to speak to one of the individuals wearing the "Ask Me Why I'm Green" lapel buttons.

In addition, NeoCon's extensive seminar series includes an environmental design educational track that gives designers and architects an opportunity to learn even more about green design and green products. Both the environmental design seminar series and the Green Guide to NeoCon are sponsored by IS magazine.

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