NeoCon is one of the world’s largest design trade shows. The PPDS designers were all fortunate enough to attend this summer, getting a first look at the products as many manufacturers release their newest collections to the public at NeoCon. The show is located in the heart of downtown Chicago at the Merchandise Mart; housing 400+ vendors, 400+ furniture and lighting showrooms in over 1,000,000 sq. ft. of space. After reflecting on all that we took in, the designers at PPDS came up with some trends we noticed on our exploration of the expansive event.
The workplace environment is continually evolving. At NeoCon this year, we noticed that much of the office furniture was designed to increase the health and happiness of the user as well as to increase flexibility and productivity. A few trends in particular stood out to us:
1. Adjustable Height Desks and Conference Tables – There are many health hazards associated with sitting for too long; increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are just a few on the list. As a solution, many manufacturers have integrated a sit-to-stand option for desks and conference tables. Not only do these designs contribute to a healthier work environment, but also a more productive one.
2. Acoustical Booths – Many businesses have been breaking down the barriers (pun intended) of the typical cubicle workspace. Having an open floor plan allows for collaboration, increased productivity and created a feeling of connectedness among co-workers. Although there are many perks to this arrangement, there is still a need for privacy and a place that someone can work without being interrupted. The acoustical qualities of the cubicle have been reinvented in furniture, making privacy flexible and convenient.
3. Power and Data Incorporated Furniture – Conference tables are no longer the only pieces receiving the power/data treatment; powered lounge furniture was a huge trend we recognized this year.
4. Table Integrated Sectional – In a flexible working environment, there is also a need to create furniture that serves a dual purpose. A few vendors capitalized on this need and added side tables to their lounge furniture arrangements. Melding lounge furniture with occasional tables makes each piece more versatile and space efficient.