NeoCon: Taking Care of Business, pt. 1

NeoCon turned 51, and this commercial interiors industry diva is hitting middle-age at full stride.

Greeting attendees with sangfroid evocative of a Kennedy scion lounging in the Hamptons, the NeoCon Plaza was an experiential outdoor environment designed by Gensler Chicago in collaboration with Forward Fruit Branded Environments and outfitted by Haworth, Sunbrella Contract and Econyl by Aquafil. An undeniable hit, giving the throngs a place to relax, recharge and enjoy the beautiful Chicago June weather, it was also an example of the movement of incorporating the outdoors into the workplace.

Photo credit: Wittefini



“Soft launching” this executive chair at NeoCon implies changes may still come, to which we say “no!” It’s great the way it is. Conceptualized by in-house industrial designer Nita Chakravarty, the chair’s dominant feature is a “mid-century infinite loop” (their words) that connects the seat, back and arms and is available in solid oak or polished aluminum. Mechanical considerations like adjustable back heights, upholstered inlays and a knee-tilt mechanism come standard.


Jonathan Prestwich and Burkhard Vogtherr cast their eyes on a Davis classic: the Motion chair that Burkhard Vogtherr designed in 1987. The key 21st century workplace evolution (get it?) is no visible adjustment components, the entirety of the seating mechanism is built into the body of the chair itself, and the user acts as a counterweight for the movement of the seating mechanism.


Designed by Anders Nørgaard of Scandinavian-based Four Design, this seating/working modules family is based on cubes, with pieces styled to create organic shapes and ideally envisioned in larger seating arrangements that activate underused areas. A variety of accessories provide acoustic and visual privacy.

Xorel Artform Baffles│Carnegie

These high-performance acoustic panels rain down design statements from above. Instead of being limited to monolithic materials or colours, these baffles are fully upholstered and offer the freedom to design unique compositions. Available in five shapes including Circle, Hex, Diamond, and the new Flip and Ripple, all these shapes are also available as wall panels, to enable a seamless look from walls to ceilings.


The New York-based woven fabric outfit is climbing the walls – literally, and for the first time. Their debut printed wall textile is named for its translucent base material, and features a direct print ombré pattern striking in both tone and scale. Made using TerraStrand, this extruded yarn has a polyester core encased in phthalate-free vinyl and contains a minimum of 18 per cent renewable vegetable content.


Designed in collaboration with Gensler, this is Humanscale’s first executive furniture product for today’s C-Suite leaders. A sleek supportive chair with height-adjustment lever sculpted into the seat, like all Humanscale chairs, recline tension instantly accommodates each sitter by automatically adjusting to their weight. But hold off on getting your office manager to click “Order now,” since it won’t be available until Q4.