New at NeoCon (May 01, 2010)

Let us now praise Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. It’s big (spanning two entire city blocks on the bank of the Chicago River, it comprises 4,000,000 square feet of floor space). It’s beautiful (completed in 1931 in the Art Deco style, its posh features include bronze framed display windows and terrazzo flooring in a pattern of squares and stripes bordered by chevrons). And it’s buzzing (offering 30 major shows and more than 330 conferences, seminars and special events, it welcomes 3,000,000 visitors annually).

The Mart’s signature show is NeoCon, the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings, held every June. Now in its 42nd year, NeoCon is North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors. It provides nearly 40,000 architecture and design professionals with a host of seminars and association forums, top-notch keynote speakers, innovative exhibits, building and design resources and materials, and innovative exhibits.

The biggest draw, of course, is the introduction of cutting-edge product — from more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors. Following is a trio of promising products debuting at NeoCon 2010.

From Allsteel comes Seek, an elegant and ergonomic multipurpose chair. What sets Seek apart is the storage options it presents: it can be stacked, nested, or combined stacked/nested; and the towers of stored chairs resulting are secure, completely mobile and pleasingly sculptural in appearance, stowing away as needed while requiring minimum space. The steel frame is available in a silver or black finish; the polymer seat and back are available in eight colours (a mesh back is a further option).

With more and more office space being dedicated to collaborative areas, Teknion was inspired to design a line of modular lounge seating and tables that provides increased flexibility, reconfigurability, and access to power and communications. Cleverly named dna, it was created by Denmark’s Acer Design in conjunction with Teknion’s in-house design team.

Humanscale’s M8 is a rugged, high-capacity monitor arm that balances style and serious performance. It accommodates the widest range of monitors available today — from eight to 20 pounds — and, with an innovative crossbar assembly, supports dual-monitor configurations up to 40 pounds. What’s more, the M8 offers 11.5 inches of dynamic height adjustment and up to 22 inches of depth adjustment, as well as an integrated cable-management system that organizes wires and hides unsightly cable clutter.

NeoCon 2010 runs at the Merchandise Mart from June 14 to 16.