While visiting the NeoCon office and contract trade exhibition yesterday we spoke with a representative of a design-oriented division of one of the major manufacturers.
She explained that the furniture was designed to be used anywhere, because work could be done anywhere, even in bed. "Work is everywhere," she observed.
That observation explains a lot in contract design. Elements of residential and workplace have been moving together in many ways. You don't see the old metal gym coach's desks in a home office.
If there's a buzzword that's most in use, it has to be "collaborate." In fact, it should be "collaborate!" written with an exclamation point, on a large whiteboard (another common item).
Speaking of white, there was a lot of it and this year's exhibition. The light pastel colors and translucent surfaces and dividers were replaced by solid white, often accented by a single color such as red, yellow or a vibrant orange.
Sustainability is always top-of-mind here, and there were many attractive designs at mid and upper price points.
NeoCon is held every year at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, and is worth a visit.