NeoCon, the commercial interior's premier event in North America, takes over Chicago in one week. Featuring more than 1 million square feet of exhibition space showcasing furniture, space design, new materials, trends, and technology, the event can be overwhelming. Thanks to nearly two decades of NeoCon experiences, Coalesse Director of Design John Hamilton shares his predictions, tips, and expectations to help guide your NeoCon 2015 experience.
1. How many times have you attended NeoCon in the past? What do you enjoy most about the event?
I have attended approximately 18 NeoCons, and they are always different. I really enjoy seeing the trends around where work is going and how different companies are approaching the issues; I love seeing friends and colleagues and the opportunity to catch up.
2. What are you looking forward to this year?
I feel like the financial crisis and its impact on the industry is now easing, and we will see new explorations into the ways we will work in the future. I am hoping to see how the new applications and solutions address the changes in the workplace associated with globalization and more geographically distributed work.
3. What trends do you expect to see at the show?
I expect that we will see new materials and methodologies for production that will leverage the emerging capabilities of smaller producers. I expect the use of more natural materials and greater expression of the material in its raw form. I expect greater integration of technology and thinking around how the internet of things will impact our lives at work as well, and I expect to see more companies thinking about alternatives to the traditional office and how it is configured.
4. What key insights inspired the new pieces Coalesse is introducing? What solutions do they offer the customer?
We researched where people are meeting and why they choose those spaces. We also looked at what tools are being leveraged and what users value when looking for somewhere to collaborate.
We utilized our insights on wellbeing and nomadic work and combined that with our new findings to create a table platform that crosses the threshold of the conference room to the open spaces where users also want to meet.
With our newest table offering, architects and designers can create spaces that will have the look and feel that their customers desire as well as the capabilities a true workplace needs. The solutions can scale in size and features and be specified in an almost endless combination of material choices.
5. What is your favorite part about Chicago? How does it compare/contrast to San Francisco?
Chicago is an incredible city. It has amazing diversity and authenticity combined with access to the outdoors. It has a rich history of great architecture and easy access to it, and it's home to some of my favorite museums. In many ways, Chicago is similar to San Francisco – great culture, food, and people, but with the biggest contrast being the weather. I hear the winters are a little cooler in Chicago.