Neocon 2013: A Recap

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For some of you, you might ask what is NeoCon? As a veteran who has attended over fifteen years, I have come to realize it means many different things to many different people. For many interior designers and architects, it's an opportunity to see prototypes like the car show in Detroit, check out where the trends are heading, take continuing education, an opportunity to learn and ask questions, build relationships, and a reunion of fellow design friends. For sales representatives it is hard work and as stressful as a reality show, like The Apprentice, to make the cut. Some sales reps fondly refer to these days as "working the streets." For clients it is an opportunity for an interior designer, architect, and sales representatives to show them more products than they could image and hopefully build a relationship to work on their current and future projects together.

NeoCon is by far one of the largest commercial interior design showcases in the world. This event can be overwhelming at times with over 700 showrooms and thousands of products, to try and see in three days. Advice I give all newbies and students is, drink plenty water, wear comfortable shoes, pace yourselves, and explore by asking questions and taking the time to look at products—such as climbing under a desk. Advice that's just as important is to see it with both a practical vision and with a child's imagination.

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination." Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka {Scene from Neocon 2013]

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination." Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka {Scene from Neocon 2013]

This is not just new lines of products, but the collections of some of the most talented artists and designers from around the world. It is the candy shop for all true designers to explore. There needs to be a balance in the exploration to be able to keep your mind from reaching overload.  

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."  Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."  Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka

This year it was exciting to see a great turnout after several years of economic struggle in the A&D (Architecture & Design) community. The floors were filled, the elevators had long lines, and more clients showed up than in recent years.

Highlight from Neocon 2013: Trends for collaboration in the workplace. 

Highlight from Neocon 2013: Trends for collaboration in the workplace. 

What makes a great product at NeoCon? As an interior designer, I will start with it needs to be functional and aesthetically pleasing along with unique. "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”—Dr. Seuss could not have a more perfect quote to describe designers and their inventions. Those products that meet all three criteria above and stick in your brain days, weeks, and even years after the show, they are the true gems. 

Neocon 2013 held many gems, can't wait to see what next year brings. This is a time for exploration, discover, and opportunity to embrace our design community all under on roof.

Neocon is an annual event held in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, at the beginning of June.

Neocon is an annual event held in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, at the beginning of June.