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“Rising real estate costs – and the resulting new ways of work and reinvention of the office environment – are driving employees from their larger, enclosed individual workstations to a new norm of smaller workplaces in open-plan environments. At the same time, the number of touchdown and temporary address spaces is increasing. These trends are changing the relationship that employees have with their workspace in terms of comfort, privacy, personalization and efficiency. As workspaces get smaller, each component must do more.” So, in a nutshell, Teknion design director Steve Verbeck characterizes the modern office. Three showrooms in particular at NeoCon – Allsteel and Haworth, as well as Teknion – brought this smaller, smarter, savvier office vividly to life. 

The buzzword at Allsteel was “collaboration,” as suggested by the names of the company’s two main introductions: Involve, a workstation where impromptu meetings can occur; and Gather, a collection specifically designed for the collaborative workplace. Says Jim Cahill, Allsteel’s VP product development and management, “Until recently, the ‘We’ spaces – such as cafés, teaming and huddle rooms – have been the key focus for furnishings for collaborative needs. But, increasingly, with technology driving the change, the ‘I’ space is now evolving.”

Haworth’s showroom demonstrated the ways in which people best perform, together and apart. The company’s Integrated Palette, a new approach to modular interiors, identifies and addresses seven major trends: economy, distribution of work and alternative workplaces, the work/life blend, sustainability, collaboration, technology shift and – to be blunt – “Your office is getting smaller.”

The theme of Teknion’s showroom was “CoCreate,” the company’s byword for successful collaboration, which requires “a workplace that allows people to interact freely, fluidly and spontaneously.” Among Teknion’s introductions in support of CoCreate are Dossier, a new spin on executive furniture, and Workstation Enhancers, a collection of multi-functional open-plan workstation tools. 

In the following pages, you’ll find the Allsteel, Haworth and Teknion introductions, plus a pertinent product each from HON, Inscape, Three H and Turnstone.

Attendance at the 43rd annual NeoCon – approximately 43,000 – was up four per cent from last year. More than 700 showrooms featured their products in one million square feet of space in Chicago’s venerable Merchandise Mart. NeoCon 2012 takes place at the Mart June 11-13.



Gather is an extensive collection of seating, tables, technology support
and ancillary pieces, designed to
encourage collaboration in any setting.
Shown here are six elements: 

View A credenza with an optional
media panel;

All-Around A table supporting a wide range of needs;

Take-5 A light bent-ply chair;

Sketch A mobile, minimalist marker board; 

Hedge A vertical freestanding unit ideal for spontaneous gatherings;

Scooch A lightweight pull-up seat featuring recessed handles for easy transport.

Other elements include:

Linger A lounge-type chair with a seat back deliberately formed to allow another individual to lean against it; 

Mind-Share Generous, upholstered banquette-style seating; 

Rise Upholstered stepped seating
modules, reminicent of stadium seating. 


Allsteel’s Involve is a blended workstation where impromptu collaboration can occur. It includes freestanding desks along with an extensive offering of casegoods and banquette-like seating, which can be configured to independently create a work area. A key component is storage, which performs double duty – acting as a space division as much as housing for both work and personal needs.  allsteeloffice.com



Three items introduced at NeoCon are the latest elements of Haworth’s far-sighted Integrated Palette, a modular office system that so far includes Enclosed Moveable Walls, Patterns Architectural Systems and Plane Conferencing: 

Reside Desking, with a wide choice of desk shapes, structural choices, linking elements and extensions – offering efficient and functional assembly of worksurfaces;

Beside Storage, designed to enhance an individual work space within a desking, panel or movable-walls environment; 

Belong Accessories, including work tools, power access and screens.  haworth.com



Workstation Enhancers are multi-functional, open-plan tools that enable uses to personalize, control and maximize a smaller workspace. There are four elements in all: 

Podium A collection of user-adjustable desktop shelving, supporting laptop, flat-screen monitors and multiple
hand-held electronic peripherals, along with everyday and personal items (shown);

Retractable Surface Providing storage, laptop/keyboard support and a non-handed mousing surface, plus clean
power and data wire management;

Behind-You Screen Composed of two screens: one attached to a worksurface and another that closes behind the user – providing visual and territorial privacy;

Stand-Up Meeting Surface Provides, within a small workstation footprint, a social context for impromptu meetings.


Teknion has reinterpreted the traditional private office with Dossier. Designed for today’s smaller, more functional spaces, the collection offers high-density storage; configurable credenzas; built-in wire management; back-painted magnetic
glass for writing and pin-up; and a choice  of open table desks for collaborative
environments or traditional desks.  teknion.com




Voi is a collection of layered work surfaces and practical storage components. The name Voi – which means “you” in Italian – was chosen because Voi works for the individual. Its many work-surface options include four basic forms:
rectangle, rudder, saddle and wedge. There’s also a system of supports, such as a simple O-leg, plus pedestal and cabinet options incorporating storage. Additional storage choices include credenzas, layering shelves, wardrobe towers and overhead cabinets.  hon.com



Three H’s Create Office Platform offers one simple, intelligent platform on which four practical applications are built: 

Club An executive suite with higher elements, and more storage and privacy; Studio A new kind of low, light, simple privacy screen; 

Forum Space for small groupings of two or large clusters of eight;  

Park A place to go for a temporary respite, with long surfaces and
open storage.   





Inscape System is a modular furniture system that offers a truly integrated product solution. Work environments can be easily and simply created by mixing and matching components and finishes; because the components are integrated, all the heights and lines will match up and nothing will look out of place. Horizontal lines, rectilinear shapes, flat top trims and concealed technology management provide a minimalist aesthetic.  inscapesolutions.com



Turnstone, a division of Steelcase, introduced Bivi at NeoCon. At its core it’s is a desk, containing integrated troughs for cable and power cords, along with integrated storage – but it also includes  a first-of-its-kind integrated Rumble Seat and Hoodie, plus arches that support canopies, mountain bikes and snowboards. What’s more, Bivi ships in a week, is delivered within 10 days and can be put together with one simple tool in less than three minutes.  steelcase.com