The Best of NeoCon 2019

The RJE Team just returned back from Chicago after a few fun (albeit intense) days of seeing the latest and greatest from the commercial design industry. After a whirlwind tour through the Mart, here are some of the major themes we took away from this year’s festivities.

A Note on Knoll Design Days

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the major move that Knoll made to Chicago’s Fulton Market District after residing in the Mart for nearly 50 years. The incredible new Knoll experience at Fulton Market cannot be properly described in a blog post, so we’ve created a separate page outlining their approach for the new space here. Head there to see how Knoll is rethinking individuality in the workplace!

#1: More Phonebooths Than You’ll Ever See Again in Your Lifetime

We have long discussed the woes (and benefits!) that accompany open office floors plans, but organizations across the world are still turning to the open approach for enhanced visibility and increased collaboration. With every open office comes the need for privacy – hence, the acoustical phone booth was born. Less than three years ago, there were only a handful of manufacturers offering phone booth solutions – but NeoCon 2019 proved that the market now has no lack of options for today’s consumer.

Out of all the manufacturers out there, Framery remains our favorite – offering an unmatched level of acoustical performance and new layouts that accommodate anywhere from 1 to 6 people. Check out the new Framery 2Q – a group meeting booth – that was displayed in the Mart’s lobby below.

#2: Pods Of All Shapes and Sizes

On the other side of the same coin, many manufacturers approached privacy and noise in the workplace with open air pods that offer a semi-private location to accomplish individual work. While these solutions don’t offer complete acoustical privacy, they do provide a respite amongst the chaos found in lobbies, cafes and larger work spaces. Our favorite was OFS’s LeanTo, a configurable nook solution that feels like it was built into the structure around it.

#3: Integrated Tech

Integrating tech into workplace solutions can be tricky since current tech models have an average lifetime of 16 months. However, we saw more manufacturers embracing baseline tech (like USBs and power sources) integration into their products, effectively extending the lifetime of the solution itself. Our favorite integrated tech offering was the Thea table from Versteel, a table that has power built into the circular end caps of each leg. We also loved its modern look and the fact that the legs come in a variety of colors to match client branding.

Want to incorporate these solutions into your new space? Contact us here.

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