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NEOCON Preview

April 29, 2017

Every year since 1969, as America pulls itself out from its winter haze, the design industry comes alive with the hustle and bustle of preparing for NeoCon. The monolith tradeshow brings together tens of thousands of designers for a three-day extravaganza during which more than 500 companies show off the latest and greatest products they’ve prepared in the last year.

Here, i+s presents some of the best products you’re bound to see across the Merchandise Mart, and just the smallest taste of what trends you can expect to pop up all the way through 2018. From acoustic paneling to rocking office chairs, you’ll find it here.

1. BuzziChandelier by BuzziSpace creates a bold focal point while adding acoustic softness to a room. This contemporary take on the Moorish lantern is a new way to create atmosphere with artful light and shadows. Two layers of sustainable BuzziFelt are combined over an LED light source.

2. Bentley creates artwork for the floor with its new tile and broadloom masterpieces: Impasto + Secco. The styles are infused with abstract blocks, fine lines, and deliberate color splashes. Impasto is named after the thick-textured techniques of Van Gogh and Pollock. Secco is a smaller-scale companion that emulates how pigments were applied to plaster walls in the mid-16th century.

3. The timeless reliability of wool felt meets vibrant color pallets and customization with the Fraster Felt Rug by Unika Vaev. Felt rugs are not only structurally stable, but also are natural sound absorbers, improving a space’s acoustics. They are available in their standard design, or custom options can be created using 31 hues. The rugs can also be tailored to fit specified dimensions.

4. Stance Healthcare brings the comfort and familiarity of the living room to the hospital corridor. The collection includes a lounge chair, love seat, and three-seat sofa.

5. JANUS et Cie introduces Sandpoint, a comprehensive collection of 76 performance fabrics. The new designs evoke a range of textile inspirations, from rich ikats and damasks to the nuanced hues and patterns found in coastal areas. The 10 styles in multiple colorways offer subtle and sophisticated to decorative and bold designs.

6. As the recent winner of the “Best in Competition” award at EDSpaces, the Ruckus collection by KI brings movement to classrooms, from elementary to corporate training facilities. The collection is made up of seating, table, and storage options which provide a wide range of movement, from easy-glide rollers to adjustable desk heights, and a multitude of uses.

7. The Thor collection by Emu is inspired by hand-forged metal. The line includes two chairs and stools suitable for indoor and outdoor seating. The flat tubular steel frame is available in 16 powder-coat finishes. Pieces from the collection are stackable up to eight high.

8. Building on the success of its modular system of panels, sofas, tables, and more for the office environment, Okamura refines Muffle’s power and wiring systems for 2017, and introduces several new accessories and materials options. The collection comes in four heights and eight widths for wall panels, and 34 fabric colors for desks, shelves, sofas, and accessories.

9. Lift by CF Stinson is a minimal design aesthetic taken to a maxi scale. Fine lines carve a vertical path that result in a zigzag formation while solid color parallelograms flip in and out of the pathways. Lift includes post-industrial recycled nylon, cotton, rayon, and polyester, and are Greenguard Gold Indoor Air Quality certified.

10. Seeyond by 3form is a series of lightweight dimensional tiles made from Acoustic Felt that boast an NRC rating of 0.80. Use Seeyond to build walls, divide a space, or create unique features that will leave a lasting impression. Available in five patterns and eight colors, the soft texture of felt offers a comfortable and welcome feeling in a space.

11. Taking inspiration from global cartography, the four patterns of Milliken’s new modular carpet collection, Moraine, create a unique texture across commercial floors. The patterns can be completely customized without extending lead times, and can be mixed along two tile shapes: 50cm x 50cm squares and 50cm x 1m planks.

12. Designed by Toan Nguyen for Studio TK, the Dual Lounge plays off the duality of light and dark with the use of a transparent base in a partially opaque knit and the textile upholstery for the body. The form allows the user a full range of motion, whether they are leaning back or actively engaging with another. The base is available in a 3D knit mesh or fabric.

13. Architectural Systems, Inc.’s Color Theory line introduces a pop of color into any project. Available in an array of 12 appealing hues, including fashion-forward melon, wine, rose, and chartreuse, these 4-inch by 12-inch ceramic tiles are finished in a gloss glaze. They can also contribute to LEED credits.


14. Chemetal’s Glowing Metals collection showcases the company’s commitment to attractive and innovative metal designs and laminates. From warmer, richer metals to textured and embossed patterns, these 36 new styles make it easy for designers to specify metal in their projects. The line is available in Classic, Printed, Patinas, and HPL product groups.

15. Allseating has expanded its award-winning Tuck series with 14 colors that can be mixed and matched. The new four-leg chair is a high-density stacker, enabling users to create temporary training facilities and impromptu collaborative environments at a moment’s notice. A storage tray can be added to the frames for knapsacks or briefcases.

16. The CSYS 4K task lamp by Dyson delivers light precisely where you need it. The 4000k LED bulb emits cool white light that is suitable for intricate tasks and working in environments where high illumination and bright color are desired. Its touch-sensitive, continuous dimming includes built-in memory recall for the most recent light level setting.

17. Carnegie is building on its Xorel Artform line of acoustical panels by offering four new shapes. By bringing the panels to life in 3D, custom wall or ceiling arrangements become works of art while performing acoustically. The panels are wrapped in highly durable, award-winning, and sustainable Xorel fabric.

18. Derived from the word “luxury” in Italian, the Lusso chair’s asymmetric grid pattern creates a distinct silhouette in the die-cast aluminum powder-coated form. Created by Kimball Office for everyday task seating, the Lusso is available in stacking, spider-base, and barstool versions. It can be specified with black or gray.

19. Distributed by D.L. Couch, Elle by Source One Upholstery is a chenille design that mimics a pebbled texture with accents of fine metallic yarns. Designed to be tonal or as a pop coloration, this pattern functions as both a solid texture and a small-scale pattern. Elle is offered in nine colors and a width of 54 inches.

20. Once again, the brilliant Suzanne Tick debuts at NeoCon, this time with Luum Textiles. The Focus In collection addresses the importance of adaptable products with eight fabrics: Outpress, Knurl, and Amalgam are high-performance upholsteries; Navigate, Heather Felt, and Monotext can be used in transitional spaces as both an upholstery and vertical surfaces textile; Technoplaid is a wrapped-wall product; and Mica Shift can be used in direct-glue applications.

21. Designtex is debuting Hester, a digitally printed wallcovering. Hester evokes geometries by Bauhaus masters where textile structures meet painting. Available in five colorways, Hester expresses the balance of order and relief in a design that is both graphic and subtly meditative. It is certified to SCS Indoor Advantage Gold.

22. Three new PVC-Free Silicone patterns are being introduced to Architex’s Authentec line. Tested at 200,000 double rubs, the selections are inherently resistant to ink, stains, mildew, fungi, and flame, as well as microbial growth inhibitors. The patterns Cupertino, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale—named for cities surrounding the California Bay Area—are formulated to be suitable for any venue, including healthcare.

23. The Enea Café Stool with 4-Leg Wood Base by Coalesse can be applied to social and collaborative standing settings in bar or counter height. The solid wood stool accommodates three seating material choices of wood veneer, upholstery, and polypropylene. The wood legs
offer a residential appeal, which allows for additional application blending.

24. Named after Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg—masters of the De Stijl movement founded in 1917 in Amsterdam—the Piet and Theo upholstery designs by Brentano pare down form and color into a rectilinear design. Available in a variety of neutrals as well as red, yellow, and blue, the fabric mimics the qualities of wool while maintaining contract-level performance.

25. Ideal for informal gathering and café spaces, Gunlocke’s Letchworth table collection provides offices with a relaxed option for collaboration. The tables invite workers to gather and share ideas in an approachable setting. Letchworth is offered in standard, counter, and bar heights in four styles: parsons, workbench, picnic, and miter.


26. Aceray’s Bella Armchair blends well with many styles of furniture and interiors. The steel frame is available in polished chrome or five powder-coat colors. This unique piece transcends traditional design by fusing classic lines with Italian craftsmanship.

27. Designed by Mike Bell, Inc. and Westwater Patterson President Joann Westwater, the Lacquered Pipe Table combines repurposed materials and luxury design. The 48-inch by 120-inch ivory lacquered tabletop balances on six rustic iron pipes supported by a satin finish base.

28. Available from ICF, the Penne Chair by Lammhults combines the spirit of Scandinavian chair design with the requirements of the modern contract furniture market. The chair serves as an iconic piece of furniture and a real industrial product at the same time. Penne incorporates laminated wooden tubes in its design, which reduces weight and conserves resources.

29. Combining warm and cool neutrals with on-trend hues, Mohawk’s newly introduced LVT Lineate creates the illusion of depth. Available in a wide array of colors, the design was influenced by gradient ombré and striated textiles, giving the tile a comforting, soft feel.

30. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s the need for security. The Cubbi-Stor with eLock by Inscape is an easy and secure system for open environments and shared spaces. Using digital codes which can be easily changed by administrators, this next generation of
lockers provides easy, high-tech storage. The line is available in 60 colors and as wardrobe towers.

31. Bringing together the spirit of the words “work” and “easy,” OM introduces the Werksy, a mesh of comfortable light task seating and the fluid motion of a rocking chair. Created in partnership with Gecco Vision, the Werksy allows the user to engage naturally through movement, from its forward-leaning pause-perch through its full arch, backwards rock.

32. DuChâteau’s Metamorphosis Wall Coverings collection is an artful play of geometry. Light and shadow dance across the natural tonalities of the wood with distinctive lines that serve to captivate. Metamorphosis features rich surface treatments and 13 bold colors, all of which create the very shape of luxury and elegance.

33. Shade from Chilewich Contract is a flat and tight twill weave that features a rotation of signature bi-color yarns that create a subtle ombré effect in the warp. The yarns share one common color, yet no two tiles are the same, even when laid in the same direction. Shade is offered as wall-to-wall flooring and wall textiles, square tiles, planks, and custom area rugs.

34. Collaborating with Suzanne Tick once again, Tandus Centiva introduces the IxD collection. IxD—another term for interaction design—intends to similarly impact the actions and reactions of people within a space. One of three new designs, Output includes the same color palette of warm to cool neutrals as its contemporary in the collection, Input, with bold accents throughout.

35. ERG has two additions to the Samba collection: the new High-Back Lounge and the Demi-Back Barstool. With its unique curved shape, Samba features a fully upholstered seat over a stylish, cold-injected urethane foam shell and contoured details that offer comfort. Offerings are customizable with a stylish array of base options and finishes.

36. Inspired by The Chrysler Building’s Art Deco façade, Labyrinth by Innovations uses linear patterns to create a luxuriously subtle relief across the 54-inch surface by catching light from two directions. The embossed Type II vinyl wallcovering is available in twelve colorways.

37. In celebration of its upcoming 50th anniversary, Nienkämper is reintroducing iconic designs from the 1960s, including LolliPOP tandem seating designed by Robin Bush. Originally designed as beam seating for airports, the unique design is available in combinations of textiles and colors.

38. In embracing both the need for user customization and the trend of mid-century minimalism, the Tessera collection by National Office Furniture provides goods for every inch of office: storage, desks, occasional tables, and reception stations. A wall panel system offers interchangeable placement of storage, shelves, surfaces, and lighting, while worksurfaces can be raised and lowered.

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