“…And when I’m back in Chicago, I feel it / Another version of me, I was in it” – Djo, End of Beginning
In the days leading up to NeoCon 2023, this song was stuck on repeat in my head. It’s a catchy tune with a fun crescendo that I enjoy singing/shouting in my office. (Sorry to everyone that sits near me!)
As most of you know, NeoCon is the design mecca for interior designers seeking the latest and greatest in products like furniture, fabrics, flooring, and many other interior finishes and technology, as well as a place to connect with design and industry professionals.
This was my third time attending NeoCon, and our team mastered the process by starting at the top floor and working our way down. We managed to see everything in one day, which wasn’t easy, and something I definitely don’t recommend. I’m sure that we missed some things between the walking fatigue and product overload.
Before diving into this year’s trends, I’d like to briefly discuss my year-over-year analysis because I saw the continuation and expansion of some trends I covered in my August 2022 blog. Curvilinear forms were still very relevant in furniture. The sunset color palette shifted this year; saturated reds were not front and center; instead, this palette shifted to more of a southwestern color palette. Think terracotta, burnt oranges, cactus greens, and gradients of yellows. The other trend that was “in your face” last year but definitely toned down this year was Bio-Feel-Ya. I loved the creative and varying ways plants were integrated into furniture, but I have to wonder who in the office will take care of all those plants?!
Let’s look at the NeoCon 2023 trends…
Acoustical products were E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E from typical products like wallcoverings to panels to ceiling treatments to phone booths and meeting pods. But the products I found most interesting were the light fixtures that incorporated acoustical housings, the dimensional tiles used to create playful patterns, and the eco approach in the creation of these products.
We see “gamifying” occurring in many areas of our lives, from health and fitness to hobbies to learning and education. It was interesting to see this incorporated into spaces within the office. Maybe I’m more in tune with it because my Boston friends have become board game collectors and players, but I enjoyed seeing different games incorporated into furniture or usable coffee table décor. Not only does it allow for some fun competition between colleagues, but it’s also a great way to take a break from staring at a computer screen to exercise your brain.
Active Seating was an unexpected trend I saw at NeoCon. I probably shouldn’t be completely surprised by that, due to the focus on workstation ergonomics, but I guess I didn’t think to explore how to incorporate it into areas such as gathering and meeting spaces. The leaning approach of this furniture keeps your legs engaged to promote movement, encourage good posture, and engage your core while seated. It was pretty comfortable. I probably wouldn’t lean on it for hours, but for short meetings and quick conversations, I think it’s a perfect solution.
At tradeshows I attend throughout the year, I usually focus on color palettes. This year, they are taking a backseat due to more exciting trends and themes we saw, with one exception: Pastels. Seeing cotton candy pinks, orange sherbet, and periwinkles sprinkled throughout showrooms focused on warm neutrals and earth tones was a fun surprise. We saw these colors primarily in upholstery fabrics, but we also saw metal details and woods stained in pastel pink, yellow, and blue to complement the pastel fabrics. This color palette definitely works well with everything Barbie we are seeing right now!
Now that you’ve had time to digest everything you saw at NeoCon, what trend were you most excited to see, and will you incorporate that into your next project?
Please send over the cool trends you saw that I didn’t show in this blog. I would love to see your favorite products from NeoCon 2023!
Until next time…