Representing markets ranging from Workplace, Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail, Education, Public Space and Government,  NeoCon opens at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago every year. From finishes to technology, building products to fabrics, the show gives a look into the hottest trends in space design.


We hope you enjoy this look into the 2019 expo.


NeoCon 2019


PDT an Astronics Company: Product Design and Development Firm in Chicago, IL
NeoCon 2019 Office Trends

Modularity and mobility are an answer to the nomadic trend of today’s work environment, and were leveraged to provide adaptivity to changing needs throughout the day.


Unique adjustable lighting

Height adjustments, as well as modularity to shift and configure, are key evolutionary features for furniture.

NeoCon 2019 Office Trends
NeoCon 2019 Office Trends
NeoCon 2019 Office Trends

Array by Senator is a “multi-purpose, multi-desking” solution.

Secondary/overflow storage in a group setting. Maybe for devices?


Power was top-of-mind for many exhibitors, who integrated charging options into furniture, lighting and more.


plug-in power

Integrated power could be found in furniture and lighting; some was seamlessly designed into the aesthetic, while some was awkward and looked like a last-minute addition.

A different approach to accessing power.

Using raw materials like wood, leather, metals etc…

Thick braided cords used as accent features to these power outlets.


Steelcase revealed its Flex Mobile Power enterprise-level low-voltage power solution at the show, enabling users to work anywhere, even in power deserts.

inductive charging

This tower enables multiple ways to charge, including a device ‘pocket’ for inductive charging.

sound control

Materials that absorb sound could be found in interesting and creative applications.

This hanging pendulum, or spinning top, can be used to separate spaces while absorbing sound.


Slotted panels can be adjusted in a number of ways to define space, provide color, texture and control sound.

Walls are far from the only option when space definition is desired. NeoCon offered a glimpse into fresh ways to create privacy or to define room separation.

space division

Some solutions give the suggestion of privacy or space division, rather than true privacy. Fabrics, metals, and artistic sculptures were leveraged in creating defined spaces around the expo floor.


For those needing a moment to themselves, options were available.

Soft sound absorbing materials...


...versus metal and glass enclosures

Is privacy about not being seen or not seeing others?

Origami inspired panels can be adjusted for room situations, providing a feeling of more solitude in noisy environments.

dual solitude

Seating for two, often in semi-private spaces, was a trend seen throughout NeoCon 2019.

An interesting dynamic in seating numbers is seen here, where some seating is for 1 and some for 2. What might the behavior element be in considering a seating solution?

Pop a squat, grab a seat, take a load off... however you want to say it, seats of myriad shapes, materials and configurations could be found at NeoCon 2019.

odd things to sit on

Unique seating eliminates shoulder to shoulder awkwardness, but does it feel too close?

motion-rocking chairs & stools

Motion while seated is being positioned as a therapeutic feature that was implemented in medical as well as residential and commercial applications around NeoCon.

Residential application


Education application


Medical application


Commercial application


stackable seating

Architectural spaces that were primed for Instagram were sprinkled around the show. Weaving in areas to any space that make for interesting photos is a smart way to help strengthen a brand organically.

era design
tribute to Bauhaus

The Bauhaus art school opened in Weimar, Germany in 1919 - 100 years ago this year. Artists and designers around the world are celebrating The Bauhaus, the birthplace of Modernism, and  the architecture, art and design that were created there.

Design inspiration from times-gone-by can evoke feelings of comfort, excitement and familiarity.

post-war us
mid-century modern
modern updates to classics

Brass is a retro material that has had a big resurgence in that last 5 years, quietly overtaking aluminum as a go-to finish.

The devil is in the details. The finishes in a room are like jewelry, and can make or break the intended feel of a space.

colors, finishes, textures
unapologetically vibrant & colorful
tubular design

Tube styled framework has been made into a defining design feature that is creatively being celebrated in a lot of chair offerings.


Plants have been part of the landscape of NeoCon for years now, and 2019 was no different. Overall this year, they seemed to be incorporated in a more natural way.

Sometimes a solution just naturally follows what it ultimately needs to do. There is beauty in reflecting functionality and the work that's being done.


designed for specific work situations
designed for makers

All of the core needs are met here in a simple solution: work top, compact computing device, and power.

Ideation mobility.


Clean, minimal and sterile: Steelcase is pushing their health care solutions away from the from the homier aesthetics that have gained popularity in the last decade.

Interesting way of providing separation on a work surface. Dry erase panel is a modular piece that can be mounted and used in a variety of ways.


Minimal, strategic systems allow for work flow customization.

Furniture that looks like it would be easy to maintain cleanliness.

The mixture of materials gives the surface definition and helps things stay in place. With integrated intelligence and power, this could be appropriate for a transportation application.

Heated seats, and big ergonomic handles are nice touches.

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Contributors: Gil Cavada, George Guffey, Erik Moses, Jake Vail, John Hannon, Brian Perille

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