Countdown to NeoCon

NeoCon, North America’s largest contract furnishings trade show, returns June 10-12 to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for its 45th year with an expertly crafted line-up of show components developed to educate, inspire and engage the design world. With more than 40,000 expected attendees, nearly 100 CEU-accredited seminars, thousands of new products from more than 700 of the world’s top manufacturers, and an impressive line-up of keynote speakers, NeoCon 2013 promises three days of pure energy bursting with new innovations, resources and networking opportunities.

NEW IN 2013!

Always a pioneer in the industry, NeoCon will be the first trade show to feature The Outdoor Office, an innovative exhibit developed by Jonathon Olivares which was most recently on display at the Art Institute’s Modern Wing. As working habits change and mobile devices allow the freedom to work outside traditional office, The Outdoor Office was developed with the goal of understanding the possibility of new types of work spaces located outdoors. To compliment this new Market, each day will feature expert speakers and programs on this subject.


Each year, NeoCon taps the brightest minds and industry innovators for its keynote presentations and this year’s show is no exception. Show organizers have lined up four incredible and informative keynote speakers including Bjarke Ingels, Founder of BIG, Michael Vanderbyl, Principal of Vanderbyl Design, Holly Hunt, President & CEO of Holly Hunt and Theaster Gates, Director, Arts and Public Life Initiative and Lecturer at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago, and Chairman of The Rebuild Foundation, NFP. Keynote programs are free to attend for trade professionals only

Bjarke Ingels founded BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) in 2005 after co-founding PLOT Architects in 2001 and working at OMA in Rotterdam. Through a series of award-winning design projects and buildings, Ingels has developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. Ingels has received numerous awards and honors, including the Danish Crown Prince’s Culture Prize in 2011, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2004, and the ULI Award for Excellence in 2009. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal awarded Bjarke the Architectural Innovator of the Year Award. In 2012, the American Institute of Architects granted the 8 House its Honor Award, calling it “a complex and exemplary project of a new typology.”  Alongside his architectural practice, Ingels taught at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Rice University and is an honorary professor at the Royal Academy of Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen. His keynote will take place on Monday, June 10, at 8 a.m.

Michael Vanderbyl has gained international prominence in the design field as a practitioner, educator, critic and advocate. Since being established in San Francisco in 1973, his firm – Vanderbyl Design – has evolved into a multidisciplinary studio with expertise in identity, print and digital communications, interiors, showrooms, retail spaces, signage, textiles, fashion apparel, packaging, furniture and product design. Printed work by Vanderbyl has gained recognition in every major design competition in the United States and Europe; his work is part of the permanent collections of several museums and is featured in national and international publications. Vanderbyl’s showroom and product designs have also earned numerous awards and distinctions. His keynote, sponsored by Teknion, will take place on Tuesday, June 11, at 8 a.m.

A native of Texas, Holly Hunt describes her design-centric business of showrooms and product for interior designers, as a business of 10,000 details. Hunt leads HOLLY HUNT, the company, as President and CEO and is intimately involved in design and creative work. In 1983, Hunt began in the interior design business by buying a small showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, which she filled with the best-of-class luxury designer collections. She subsequently expanded her reach into all major U.S. markets. The HOLLY HUNT brand has become the premier design and distribution entity for high end interior furnishings in the country. She has often been credited with raising the bar in interior design showrooms. Home & Garden magazine recognized HOLLY HUNT as the Top Showroom in their Best of the Best awards three years in a row. Her keynote will take place on Tuesday, June 11 at 1 p.m.

Theaster Gates, Jr. has developed an expanded artistic practice that includes space development, object making, performance and critical engagement with many publics. Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions. Gates’ training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body. Gates was recently awarded the inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, honored by the Wall Street Journal as Arts Innovator of the Year 2012, and commissioned as the Armory Show Artist 2012. Gates is also a 2012-13 Creative Time Global Resident and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2011.His keynote will take place on Wednesday, June 12, at noon.

Continuing education and professional development have always been an integral component of NeoCon. This year’s conference schedule includes nearly 100 CEU-accredited seminars and industry association forums, giving trade professionals the opportunity to discover the newest trends and techniques from some of the top-names in the industry.


NeoCon is the only place to see thousands of new product launches from industry heavy hitters all under one roof. Attendees at the show will be the first to see innovative, next generation products and resources from more than 700 of the world’s top furnishings manufacturers for commercial office, residential, health care, hospitality, institutional and government design environments. Products will span a wide range of categories including: architectural products, artwork and accessories, building products and services, fabric, floor coverings, furnishings, kitchen and bath, lighting, outdoor furniture, stone and tile, sustainable design products, technology, textiles and wall coverings.

Additionally, this premier contract show features a variety of show components, including Residential and , Casual Furniture and LuxeHome. Attendees can explore the best in home furnishings during NeoCon in the  Design Center’s permanent showrooms on floors 6, 14-16, as well as the LuxeHome® boutiques on the 1st floor, boast nearly 175 stunning showrooms, dedicated to residential furnishings, kitchen, bath and building product resources.

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