Almost 50

NeoCon, held every June at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, is almost as old as Canadian Interiors. While CI came to life in 1964 (the year the Beatles conquered North America), the National Exhibition of Contract Furnishings debuted in 1969 (the year John, Paul, George and Ringo privately decided to disband). At the time, it took up 222,000 square feet in the Mart, the much-loved Art Deco landmark that remains the largest commercial building in the world, spanning two city blocks and rising 25 storeys. Today, NeoCon has spread out to fill an astounding one million square feet, over 10 floors.

North America’s largest design expo and conference for commercial interiors, NeoCon offers top-notch keynote speakers, along with 100 CEU-accredited seminars and association forums. Topics to be covered in 2014 include Office Design/Living & Working Well; Business Best Practices; Hospitality Design; Codes; Institutional & Public Spaces; and Green Building/Health Safety & Welfare.

Each year, more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors offer innovative products and resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors. Following are a half-dozen promising products making their debut in 2014.

Allsteel has expanded its suite of movable walls with the introduction of Beyond Solid. Built with a unique scissor-like leveling mechanism, Beyond Solid supports the vertical and horizontal mounting of tiles and furniture components; the frame design supports multiple tile configurations and aesthetic choices to maximize design capability.

Teknion’s new Journal casegoods line enables the private office to function for focused, individual work, yet easily transform to accommodate more collaborative team environments – thanks to a pivoting bench, sliding storage and (optional) height-adjustable table. 

Aesync, created by EOOS for Keilhauer, is a conference chair of minimal design and maximum comfort. Its backrest and arms flow seamlessly into one another, with no visual break; the mechanism is completely hidden, integrated into the chair itself. It comes in 18 chair models and six stool models.

Herman Miller “raises the bar” with its Renew Sit-to-Stand Table, which makes moving from sitting and standing – and back again – a natural part of the worker’s day, which is better for the human body. Integrated cord management supports the table, technology and task light, while remaining neatly out of sight.

Also in the business of improving the health and comfort of work life, Humanscale introduces Rise, a sit-stand solution that retrofits existing desks to allow the user to transition between sitting and standing positions instantly and elegantly. Height-adjustable, it can be clipped like a monitor arm to any fixed-height work surface; its central column holds a monitor and a platform for a keyboard.

KnollTextiles presents the Empire Collection, designed by its in-house team. Comprised of woven wallcovering, drapery and performance upholstery, it has a dynamic range of options for settings from hospitality and healthcare to education and corporate. 

NeoCon runs at the Merchandise Mart June 9–11.