Friday, June 26, 2009

Inside NeoCon 2009

This first-hand account and summary of NeoCon 2009 is kindly brought to you by Erin Bodnar, owner of EEB Interiors, an Inside the Brackets guest contributor.

The resounding theme of NeoCon 2009…Let's make work fun!!

Furniture manufacturers responded to a continuing shift within the modern workforce. Employees no longer want to be restricted within cubicles (!), rather, they want/need
open spaces that foster innovation and teamwork.

Companies such
as Allermuir, Teknion, and Allsteel responded to that by dropping panel heights and creating more open, collaborative workspaces.
Allermuir - Crossover Desk

Teknion – Marketplace

Allsteel – Stride Collection

While some might question the usability of these shrinking workstations, companies are counter-acting that concern by creating a multitude of “teaming areas” where employees can meet and collaborate. The typical conference room is still an option for meetings an
d presentations, but studies have shown that a more casual atmosphere tends to foster creativity. This led manufacturers to introduce a wide array of bar/standing height and soft seating options.

Turnstone was one manufacturer that broke the mold of typical office furniture with their introduction of the
paper table. This light-weight end table is easy to move and allows people to jot their ideas onto the tables’ paper top. (If wasting paper is a concern, you can opt for the writable glass version of the table).

Turnstone also introduced movable screens that provide privacy for groups that choose to work within a soft seating area. Carpet, fabric, and wallcovering manufacturers seemed to follow suit as well by introducing more vibrant color palettes that will compliment the trend toward newly energized workspaces.
Turnstone – Soft Seating and Bar Ht surfaces

MDC Wallcovering and paint manufacturer stretches the limits as they continue to develop their “IdeaPaint” product which is a low VOC, water-based paint that “makes it possible for us to put our heads together almost anywhere.” Basically, it turns any paintable surface into a dry erase board.

MDC Wallcoverings – IdeaPaint

Although colorful introductions reined supreme this year, more traditional offices and formal executive suites were not overlooked. Introductions were highly influenced by residential design style. With people spending more time at the office, we are left to question, “why can’t the office have the comforts of home?” And the answer is…it can! More subdued color palettes, and warmer wood tones created luxurious spaces that any employee would enjoy.

Coalesse – Denizen Collection

Davis – Tix Office LaCasse - Morpheo Collection

Whether your company is progressive or more formal, contemporary or traditional -- NeoCon 2009 had something for everyone!

Erin Bodnar is owner of EEB Interiors based in Chicago. Erin draws design inspiration from her experience with fine furniture, art and architecture, to create spaces with unparalleled elegance and unique flare. Visit her website to find out more. [1016] and Inside the Brackets is proud to have EEB as a collaborative partner. If you see anything you like here, contact Erin. She can help you put it together.

For another photo-intensive review of NeoCon 2009, visit this post on Metropolis POV.

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