Celebrated Design Trends from NeoCon 2016

Dan Parker


NeoCon 2016

As an engineer and product designer, NeoCon is the perfect place to notice trends in commercial design. While walking this year’s show held June 13-15 at The Mart in Chicago, I searched for examples of mechanical designs that weren’t hidden but rather celebrated. A few items caught my attention.

Transparent Structure
We are leaving the era of hiding structure behind plastic shells and facades and we’re starting to embrace not only how something looks but how it’s held together. This sincere representation of structure communicates trust and transparency in furniture. This was manifested from clear-coated welds to spring-bound chair backs.

Transparent Structure

Joinery and Oversimplification
Several showrooms I visited celebrated joinery and oversimplification.

Joinery and Oversimplification

Thin, Straight Lines
Thin, straight lines that almost seem dangerous were everywhere. It’s almost as if the office furniture OEMs were playing chicken with BIFMA (The Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association).

Thin, Straight Lines

Milled Cork
I saw quite a dichotomy with milled cork and topographic lounges with clean straight lines.

Milled Cork

Overstuffed Sofas
To offset the thin lines and rigid workstations, I noticed a seeming resurgence of the overstuffed sofa with aged wrinkles. More and more offices have dedicated lounge areas to support a relaxed, collaborative environment.

Overstuffed Sofas

Weird and Wonderful
As always, NeoCon brings out both the weird and wonderful in office furniture. A good design makes anything possible and needs to be celebrated.

Weird and Wonderful

Written By: Dan Parker – Conceptual Engineer |
Dan is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering. He is experienced in multiple facets of product development including aesthetic design, concept development, modeling, prototyping, testing, and FEA. Dan is trained in user centered design, design thinking and design for manufacturing/assembly.

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