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  • Writer's pictureTheresa McKenna

Inviting Spaces & Inspiring Ideas: elite Interior Designers Share Highlights from NeoCon 2024

Always on the lookout for emerging trends, two of elite|studio e’s interior designers had the opportunity to attend NeoCon in Chicago from June 10th-12th. NeoCon has served as the world’s leading platform and most important event of the year for the commercial interior design industry since 1969. Senior Project Designer Natalie Yorey and Project Designer Juliana Maniscalco walked several miles over the course of the three-day convention to see everything the vendors had to offer. Seven of the building's 25 floors were occupied by vendors displaying furniture and finishes for both residential and commercial use.

Each company had a mini showroom set up to give the attendees the experience of testing out the furniture and seeing it in a real space. Our designers noticed several prominent styles that the exhibitors had in common as they traveled throughout the show.

One common theme was soft curves and rounded edges. Designers are doing away with hard corners and angles in favor of mellifluous lines in their products. This design choice gives a room a gentler, more welcoming feel. Bright, monochromatic colors are becoming predominant. Many of the showrooms used one bright color as the theme and various shades of that color were used throughout the space to complement the main hue. Our team members also noticed that darker greens, burnt oranges and rich wood colors are being utilized more frequently.

Another recurring feature was stackable and movable furniture. There were a plethora of options to see as this type of furniture is becoming more widely available than it has been. The multifunctional furniture is specifically made for multifunctional spaces, allowing clients to make the most of small real estate. ADA compliance and ergonomics were kept in mind when creating these options. In addition, privacy pods are becoming popular. The soundproof walls create a small space for employees to step away for a brief, personal phone call or a virtual meeting.

The overarching theme of the show seemed to be aimed at making spaces more inviting.

Companies are enticing their employees back into the office with warmer and more welcoming features. They want to create different moments by encouraging the employees to talk with each other and collaborate while still having the availability of privacy when needed. Employers aim to foster an inviting environment that will keep their employees productive and happy.

Hear about our designers’ favorite showrooms below!

Natalie: “My favorite showroom at NeoCon was a difficult choice, as each one we visited offered a unique perspective on upcoming trends. However, the OFS/Carolina Furniture Showroom stood out as my top pick (see below). I initially visited because I had previously used their furniture in a project and had been in communication with a representative. Upon entering, it felt like more than just a showroom. This year’s offerings featured soft finishes, vibrant fabrics, and versatile pieces that truly impressed me. I was particularly taken by the way their whiteboard "decor" showcased the design process behind the very pieces we were using. The attention to detail and purposeful design were evident throughout the showroom. I will consider OFS/Carolina Furniture for future projects involving furniture selection."

OFS/Carolina Furniture Showroom

"NeoCon showcased a wealth of inspiring ideas, many of which I plan to incorporate into our designs. One of the most prominent trends was the resurgence of color and the integration of organic shapes and lines (see below). We are thrilled to embrace this opportunity to think outside the box.”

Juliana: “My favorite showroom was Hightower (see below). I really liked not only the pieces shown, but also the flow of the showroom and how it told a story of the use for each piece. The showroom highlighted colorful pieces with soft curves and lines, creating an inviting & exciting environment. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with a configuration of their modular summit collection which features multi-level seating options, almost like plushy stairs & each piece was connected together by magnets which was super interesting to see!"

Hightower Showroom

"I would also love to have a chance to incorporate a privacy booth or nook in a dining room to help define a seating arrangement, while physically separating it from the rest of the space.” (See images below.)


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