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Product Highlights and Workplace Trends at NeoCon 2017

Biophilic design, privacy, adaptable furniture and technology were among the trends spotted at NeoCon this year.

Product Highlights and Workplace Trends at NeoCon 2017

Herman Miller’s Elements portfolio at the South Lobby, NeoCon 2017

NeoCon, the global trade show and conference platform for commercial interiors, hit Chicago again this year from 12-14 June at The Mart. Registered attendance was up 7 per cent over last year. As always there were plenty of workplace products on show, and some discernable trends emerged: biophilic design, privacy, adaptable furniture, acoustic comfort, and technology.

Carpet with organic textures and sustainable manufacturing processes, biological lighting and green-wall planters were among the products addressing biophilic design directions. Agile partitions and mobile pods addressed the push for privacy in the workplace. Versatile, modular and adaptable furniture showed the crucial role of collaboration spaces, and acoustic products showed how they need to be moderated. And the evolving tech category had its own section, showcasing everything from VR and AR to new software, wearables and wireless charging.

Herman Miller introduced its new digital platform, Live OS – a system for connected furnishings. The subscription-based Live OS service includes an app and dashboard to offer databased insights about changing needs in the workplace. Once the app has been paired with any connected desk, Live OS provides anonymous sensor-based data and insights that allow the management and optimisation of space utilisation.

The Prospect range of semicircular freestanding screen structures, designed for Herman Miller by Richard Holbrook, won a Gold Award in the Best of NeoCon awards programme (‘Furniture Collections for Collaboration’ category).

Antonio Citterio’s CDS system (Citterio Desking System) for Vitra was another winner, picking up a Silver Award and an Innovation Award in the category of ‘Tables: Height-Adjustable’. This modular system can be configured as individual tables, clusters of multiple workstations, spacious workbenches or meeting tables in various sizes. All are available either at a fixed height or as manual or motor operated sit-stand solutions.

Humanscale’s Infinity light was awarded Silver in the ‘Lighting: Desktop/Task, Furniture-Integrated’ category. This flexible LED light is easily adjusted with its constant-torque ‘Forever Hinge’, which allows seamless movement yet maintains a secure position.

Other award winners included JANUS et Cie for the Katachi High Back Lounge Chair; Senator for the Rapt chair; Steelcase Health for Surround and Steelcase Education for the Verb Active Media Table; Shaw Contract for Emergence; Knoll for Anchor Raised Storage; BuzziSpace for BuzziPleat; as well as Teknion and Andreu World, who won three and four Best of NeoCon awards respectively.

One of our favourites from the show is Okamura’s new Alt Piazza shared furniture collection, which offers a secondary workspace to support a wider array of worker needs. The main counter has easy-access power outlets under the edge of the tabletop, providing ancillary support and keeping the floor free of cords. The two-tiered bench easily accommodates increases in group size.

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