The latest annual NeoCon extravaganza was held in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart between June 11th and 13th. Held every year since its inaugural event in 1969, this furniture fair showcases the best in global furniture design, emphasizing innovation and acting as an immense launch pad for people in the commercial furniture industry. This year’s event showcased a wealth of furniture for offices, co-working spaces, lounges, reception areas, and hot-desk environments. Here are a few of our personal favorites:
Taking home the “Best in Competition” award was a design by Austrian studio EOOS for Keilhauer, entitled “Untucked.” The collection is comprised of comfortable, homely yet professional pieces designed to cater to today’s casual work environment. The tables, sofas, and task seating invite users to play around with their workspaces and are perfect for meetings, coffee breaks, and informal catch-ups. The wing-back chairs and armchairs are upholstered in comfortable, durable fabrics available in a wide range of muted natural tones. Echoing mid-century designs, modern twists can be seen in some otherwise-classic pieces, such as interview couches with extended seats to accommodate kneeling and leaning.
Designed by Marc Newson, this stacking office chair incorporates elements of time-honored classics while retaining a contemporary edge. Inspired by Mies Van Der Rohe’s cantilevered Tugendhat chair from 1928, the Newsom aluminium chair “synthesizes simplicity, material, and precision in the Modernist tradition.” The chair’s minimal aesthetic is achieved using an unbroken frame of aluminium, which curves from the rear of the seat towards the floor and up to the back rest in a single loop. The back and seat rests are made from a flexible mesh material, and the chair’s ergonomic design gives the user total comfort without having to support the lower back.
Maari — Haworth
Famed Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola was once again called on by Haworth to design their new Maari family of furniture. The designer’s collaboratiive relationship with the furniture company is long-standing, and Maari represents their vision for the “the future of active, informal environments” in the workplace. At this year’s NeoCon, the first piece from the forthcoming collection was unveiled: an active work chair that marries a wooden base of four legs with a streamlined seat and backrest that are upholstered in soft, inviting fabrics. These chairs can be used in a multitude of spaces, from conference and training rooms to touchdown and ancillary workstations.
Flexible task furniture collection Woodstock took home two awards at this year’s furniture fair. More specifically, it was awarded Gold in the “Best of NeoCon” and an Interior Design HiP award. Designed by Mark Muller, the collection uses the silhouettes of each piece to inform its design, resulting in clean, thin-profile frames on which neat, slender table tops rest. The designer feels that flexibility and functionality shouldn’t compromise the need for beautiful design. He adds: “Woodstock projects a simple, clean, and smart environment that is not detached from nature. Materials like wood, natural finishes, and felted surfaces and components offer an organic connection with the natural world.”