The new at NeoCon

Here it comes again, as regular and as welcome as June weather: NeoCon, the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings, now in its 44th year. Mid-June, more than 40,000 architecture and design professionals will gather at Chicago’s venerable Merchandise Mart on the bank of the Chicago River. For these professionals –– including staff of Canadian Interiors -– this is the year’s can’t-miss event. 

North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors, NeoCon offers 120 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums, along with top-notch keynote speakers. (This year’s speakers include Richard M. Daley, former mayor of the city of Chicago; Primo Orpilla, principal of Studio O+A; Gary Lee, prinicpal of Gary Lee Partners; and Ian Schrager of Ian Schrager Company.) 

But the main attraction is the awesome array of products and resources (for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors) from more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors – spread out over one million square feet of space on 10 floors of the Mart. 

Following are five remarkable products making their debut at this year’s NeoCon.

HON and Teknion are introducing systems geared to today’s “collaborative office.” 

HON’s Motivate is a collection of tables, chairs and presentation tools – mobile and adaptable – designed for higher-education classrooms, café and meeting rooms in offices and facilities, and other common spaces. Its development is the result of HON’s association with product designer Wolfgang Deisig of Berlin-based Deisig Design.

Teknion’s Sidewise – designed by Christopher Wright of Toronto’s figure3 – is a compact casegoods workstation/hub ideal for smaller, less formal workspaces in open-plan environments; a vertical storage component structurally supports the workstation and minimizes the footprint. –

Three of our favorite companies – Keilhauer, Nienkämper and Allsteel – are introducing singular items. 

Keilhauer’s Talk, a dramatic new seating system of benches with backs, chairs and tables – designed by EOOS – optimizes face-to-face meetings; single- and two-seat benches feature backrests that are high enough to double as privacy screens and sound barriers. 

Nienkämper’s Metronome Flip Flop Tables fold and unfold quickly to change the dynamics of the workspace and adapt to varying needs; carefully tailored legs impart a modern aesthetic. 

Allsteel’s Take-5 Stool is the latest addition to the Gather collection; with its bent plywood seat (cushioned and contouring naturally to the human form) atop a leggy sled base, the stool distills seating to the barest essentials

NeoCon 2012 runs at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart from June 11 to 13. We hope to see you there.