Ah NeoCon, the greatest time of year! Everyone enjoys seeing the latest, greatest products for commercial interiors while we learn about upcoming workplace trends and catch up with industry friends. New designs, innovative solutions and fresh ideas are all over the Merchandise Mart. The buzz in the air is palpable. And, let’s not forget the parties, the giveaways and the shoes.
For us at Mohawk Group, we had an outstanding NeoCon. We unveiled our renovated showroom to showcase Floors That Move You – a sophisticated, neutral, textural experience.
We presented our award-winning designs in modular and broadloom carpet, as well as hard surface flooring products such as LVT and wood. We took home the prestigious Best of NeoCon Gold award for Moving Floors, a modular carpet kit-of-parts that allows designers to use a system of textures to delineate space. Our collaborative design partners for Moving Floors – Anastasia Su and Martin Lesjack of Innocad’s 13&9 Design – were also keynote speakers for NeoCon. Through their captivating keynote, they shared their design philosophy with a large crowd of admirers. Additionally, we won a Best of NeoCon Silver award for Lakir by Durkan, and eight other awards and honors from the press. And, did you hear about our party? British songstress Natasha Bedingfield braved the torrential storms – and Stanley Cup final game – to perform for a huge crowd of Mohawk partygoers. All we can say is WOW! NeoCon had it all, including lots of design trends to consider.
One the the biggest trends affecting design is the continued influence of health and wellness with activity based solutions. Manufacturers of systems furniture showed lots of sit-stand adjustable height tables, for workers to have the ability to get up and move during the day to combat a sedentary lifestyle. There was also an abundance of plants, which follows the global design trend to move greenery indoors, promote well-being, and reinforce our innate connection to nature.
Another ongoing trend in the workplace is the major influence of the home. As technology and those slick devices like iPhones and tablets invade our lives, we are all trying to leverage being forever connected while maintaining our own creature comforts. Our industry has met this challenge head on, with interiors being designed to help us relax, decompress and stay calm in our frenzied 24/7 existence. Furniture settings, materials and furniture forms themselves are becoming softer to provide shelter and respite. Color palettes are generally becoming more subdued, and even moving minimal, with a Scandinavian influence. What’s more, natural materials like wood, especially in a raw state, are dominating.
Further evidence of the importance of this trend is the new partnership between Inscape and West Elm. Inscape, a manufacturer of office furniture, and West Elm, the retailer of residential furniture and home goods, have joined forces to come out with West Elm Workspace, a commercial line of desking, casegoods, seating and ancillary furniture. The partnership offers a blend of work-life furniture (don’t worry, it’s tested and rated for contract use). They’ve also partnered with Designtex for graded-in fabrics. Their motto is “Think Outside the Office”. They offer collections in four different aesthetics, and have finishes that speak to a kinder, gentler office: grainy oak, walnut, and ash woods; raw steel; polished nickel; warm metals; and fluted glass. It’s crucial to note too that West Elm is bringing craft to the office, with their “Brooklyn Maker” perspective blended with the office settings and layouts. The role of craft in our society today cannot be overstated. This sense of being touched by the “hand” gives products a boost of authenticity while moving us back a bit from the fatigue of the technological era.
Another relevant trend related to this sense of creature comforts and retreating from virtual technology is the rise in popularity of extreme texture. Texture is the antidote to the iPhone and allows us to connect with our primal, innate need for tactility. We are seeing surface texture everywhere, on both hard and soft surface materials. Textiles and carpet are playing a major role in the softening of interior space, while adding textural interest, both visual and physical. At Mohawk, we have several new products that speak to this trend and push the limits of texture and tactile materials – especially with our new Moving Floors and Modern Dobby collections. Woven and highly textured tufted carpets will play a major role in this trend.
Other trends worth noting: large communal tables; integration of power and technology into furniture (especially lounge seating); privacy solutions for open plan furniture; meetings can happen anywhere; warm color tones; vegetable colors; and color and shade gradations.
Visit our Mohawk Group NeoCon 2015 microsite to catch up on the NeoCon experience. You can view photos, watch our product inspiration videos and take a tour of our Chicago showroom. Enjoy!