Tagged NeoCon 2017

NeoCon 2017

Surface Trends: Some Observations

NeoCon — our favorite time of year. There’s just no other show in this country that provides the visual stimulation or feeds the trend-seeker’s soul quite like this one. Floor after floor of the best and the, quite literally, brightest in commercial interiors design.


Understandably, we view the show with a decorative surfaces-geek eye, so our top trends veer in that direction. And we saw plenty that made our socks roll up and down this year.

Any recap of the show will certainly point first to the reemergence of Scandinavian influences. Clean lines, lighter tones, pops of bold color. It seems, to us, the logical evolution from the midcentury modern trend that has taken both commercial and residential interiors by storm in recent years. Breaking that down further, here’s what caught our attention.

Continued shift from veneers to laminates.

Now able to match real wood and veneers in grain fidelity and sophistication, the advantages of laminates are making them increasingly attractive in increasingly more applications. Certainly, desk systems, hospital interiors and educational environments have long embraced laminates, but the once coveted solid wood or veneered focal piece — desk, conference table, cabinetry, credenza — is now showing up in laminate, too, showcasing its enhanced durability and increasing design versatility.

Subtle, elegant grains.

Where two points converge: the Scandinavian influences coupled with the availability of elegantly designed wood grains came together as we saw an evolution from the subtle lineal patterns that have been a hallmark of commercial interiors surfaces to more elaborate grains and structures. Subtle in color, rich in character.

Small spaces, slim profiles.

Offices continue to grapple with the seemingly contradictory mandates of “open spaces!,” the need for occasional privacy and millennials’ desire to continually shake things up. No sitting at one desk all day. There are pods and small offices and sitting desks and standing desks and small conversation areas and big meeting areas and still the occasional (egads!) office with four walls and a door. All those spaces living in harmony have contributed to a design trend toward more, smaller spaces and slim profile furniture that is visually appealing, easily moveable and doesn’t clutter up a what-could-be-easily-cluttered-looking space. The surfaces lend themselves to these smaller profiles, adding clean, sleek sophistication that doesn’t scream to compete.

Pops of drama.

That said, all those muted tones were very often offset with splashes of drama. Subtle colors and grains found complement with a single bold pattern or color, whether hard surface, textile, carpet or chairs. (The chairs! We became obsessed with the chairs!) Those pops are one of the fun things about our jobs, frankly. For every 20 hardrock maples and blond lineals, we get to add something dramatic and bold.

Expanding sustainability.

A healthy work environment has come to mean more than simply recycling copy paper and introducing low-emissions fabrics and case goods. From ergonomic workstations to what’s in the fridge, everything focuses on the health of the employee and the responsibility of the employer for both environment and that employee’s health. There’s a lot to the sustainability story for laminates if you’re interested in the read.

If NeoCon had a slogan (does NeoCon have a slogan), it should be: Better than Christmas!

Retro Design, Revisited

If you had a chance to head to NeoCon last month, you would have seen that the 70’s style is alive and well. Interiors spaces are welcoming back the best of the era with brick walls, exposed wood beams, and sunken living rooms alongside furniture and decor boasting mod patterns, retro color schemes, and clean lines. Here are a few of our favorite retro-inspired picks from NeoCon that are sure to inspire some of you.

The Pâtissière Series Cafe Chairs by Leland

Today’s retro style often pairs only two colors together to mimic the printing style available in the 70s. That can be seen in Leland’s chair designs, alongside the desaturated color palette and dramatic curves.

Arclin NeoCon Chair Retro Design


Fern Chair by Haworth

A comfortable chair is necessary for all the hours we spend in from of computers today. But that doesn’t mean they can be fun. Haworth took 70’s inspired clean lines and muted color schemes to inspire the modern work day.

Arclin-NeoCon-Chairs Retro Design


Lichen Carpet by Mohawk Group

Winning the Gold Award in the Carpet: Modular category, the Lichen rug has an organic, nature-inspired feel with loads of texture, which focuses on 70’s inspired burnt orange.
Arclin NeoCon Rug Retro Design


Kanso Bench by HBF

Low-slung seating was a popular retro style and HBF brought it back in these playful color combination with mix-and-match pieces. How fun!




And, another example of minimalist furniture we want, now.



Mod all the way. These fun fabrics fully embrace the geometric style that defined retro. Circles, starbursts, stripes, and other shape patterns lend themselves to a visual dance prominent during that time. And now, today’s walls, chairs, and couches will be ready to make the same groovy statement.



How do you feel about the resurgence of retro design that was seen throughout NeoCon 2017? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment on Facebook to share your opinion.