Attendees at the 45th annual NeoCon could see and feel the upswing in the economy and the contract furnishings industry as 41,488 interior designers, architects, and trade professionals descended on Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. This year’s show, held June 10-12, was buzzing with activity, excitement and most importantly, business, as 700+ exhibitors showcased the latest in contract furnishings.
“NeoCon 2013 proved to be very successful. The increased number and quality of attendees, coupled with nine new showroom openings are clear indicators of the validity of the show, and we are pleased to say exhibitors upped the ante with their designed displays of new products that generated considerable visitor traffic,” said Byron Morton, Vice President of Leasing, MMPI.
Mike Wagner, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for OFS Brands, agrees with the level of quality attendees and adds: "In a time when OFS Brands is transforming as quickly as the world around us, NeoCon provides our company with critical interaction with the design community. Our showroom attendance on the first day of NeoCon 2013 surpassed the total from all three days of NeoCon 2012, which was also a record year for OFS Brands."
The nine new permanent showrooms that opened in time for NeoCon, further enhanced its year round contract furnishing offerings. The new showrooms feature leading names in the contract furnishings industry including Arper, Suite 339, Prismatique, Suite 10-138, Integra, Suite 10-140, Brentano, Suite 1040A, BuzziSpace, Suite 10-111, Grand Rapids Chair, Suite 394, Skyline Design, Suite 1060, D.L. Couch Wallcovering/Fabric, Suite 11-113, and Kinetex by J&J Flooring Group, Suite 10-116. These companies cross over several product categories, including seating, desking, wallcoverings, floorcoverings, and textiles.
Boasting more than 130 mid-to-high-end contract furnishings showrooms, The Mart is a critical channel by which manufacturers launch, display and sell innovative furniture and interior resources for corporate, hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and education environments. The contract furnishings floors were busy with activity at this year’s show, with thousands of people placing orders and seeing new products.
"Neocon 2013 surpassed our expectations in showcasing planning opportunities for design professionals and Knoll dealers to share with their clients," said Lynn Utter, President and COO, KnollOffice. "We were extremely pleased with the industry participation in the show as well as the response to how we pursue products and design solutions that continue to define what is modern -- design that endures and anticipates changing workplace needs.”
“This year’s NeoCon was one of the strongest in recent memory—great attendance from the architecture and design community and terrific customer engagement. At Herman Miller we took full advantage, sharing our award-winning Living Office designs and vision for the future of the workplace to critical acclaim.” Curt Pullen, Executive Vice President and President, Herman Miller North America
While the permanent showroom floors flourished at this year’s NeoCon, the same success was true for the 490 exhibitors on the 7th and 8th exhibit floors. Exciting product introductions were revealed for the workplace, healthcare, education, hospitality and retail environments including a product mix that goes beyond furniture to complete the interior environment. Attendees delighted in the plethora of interior finish materials, architectural products, flooring, textiles, signage and technology. Highlights included the Interiors and Sources Materials Pavilion, with hundreds of material samples displayed in a curated exhibit, as well as the Healthcare and Flooring Pavilions on the 8th floor. The 7th floor highlighted Technology and Architectural Resources, Hospitality and Retail, and Outdoor Pavilions.
Encompassing 150,000 square-feet of exhibition space on floors 7 and 8, the exhibitor base was comprised of a diverse group of internationally-based companies from more than 16 countries, as well as large and small domestic manufacturers.
“Even for more than just our experience at SIXINCH there seemed to be a greater energy about the show this year than in the past,” said Kip Wieland, Managing Director, SIXINCH. “We had a constant stream of people even well into Wednesday afternoon. Clearly NEOCON is a great barometer for the industry. Based on this year’s show the industry is attempting new creative paths, and it all looks promising. It’s great to be a part of it.”
“When we made the strategic decision to reconnect with the contract market, we felt there was one primary show that we needed to have a presence at, and it was NeoCon,” said Aaron Moser, Director of Contract, Thos. Moser. “We were pleased to participate and have our work acknowledged by Contract magazine in the Best of NeoCon awards. We look forward to future NeoCons and have already made a commitment for 2014.”
“NeoCon has always been the ideal place to understand the industry trends and meet new and existing customers as they continue to come back to NeoCon. And thanks to the Best of NeoCon Award program, Koncept gained a lot of visibility winning two Best of Neocon Gold Awards for Tono and Mosso Pro. This year has been a very successful NeoCon show for Koncept,” said Sherry Cummings, Marketing and Sales Manager, Koncept.
All combined, 700 + exhibitors featured their products in more than one million square-feet of space of The Mart. The 2013 Best of NeoCon competition had365entries and thousands of new products were presented at the show.
“NeoCon is great for our industry and for the manufacturers, but the ultimate winners are the customers who come to the show. They get to see the best in the world in one place in a short period of time," said Chuck Saylor, CEO and Founder, izzy+. “You can easily see over the past decade that everybody, from small to big companies, is elevating their game around innovation. It creates a rallying point that brings all of us together to share our thoughts and ideas but also to be challenged and energized by what others are doing.”
NeoCon included nearly 100 CEU accredited seminars for attendees. Programs included keynotes from four industry leaders: Bjarke Ingels, Founder of BIG, sponsored by OFS and presented by IIDA, Michael Vanderbyl, Principal of Vanderbyl Design, sponsored by Teknion and presented by ASID, Holly Hunt, President & CEO of Holly Hunt presented by The Design Center at The Merchandise Mart, and Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA, interior architect and founder of Rottet Studio, sponsored by Decca Contract and presented by AIA Chicago. All keynote presentations were standing-room only and received rave reviews from attendees and exhibitors alike.
NeoCon 2014 will take place June 9-11. For more information about NeoCon, visit www.neocon.com or call (800) 677-6278 (MART).