contributed by Fiona Worboys Royer [designer / amateur photojournalist / established traveler]
EDITOR’S NOTE: So Chicago’s many miles away, your work schedule’s been punishing, budgets are tight, and NeoCon was just not an option for you this year. No worries! Our designer-slash-field reporter Fiona got the scoop on what was hot amongst this year’s offerings. So grab a cup of tea (for Fiona’s from England), and take our armchair tour of NeoCon 2008.
Hum – Kimball Office
This new office system from Kimball is designed to “work the way minds work”, rather than to merely fit the body. The modular pieces allow each person to configure their workstation to suit them specifically, whilst allowing interaction with those around them. One such option in the series is the press-friendly “see me” screen, an imaginative cut-out partition, which allows you to play peek-a-boo with your colleagues.
Flagship – Hon Company
Just a simple design adjustment can create a whole new way of working. Here, the traditional desk pedestal has a side opening, allowing for different usage other than hanging filing. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but they are getting many positive comments. This is sure to be a best seller.
Acuity – Allsteel
NeoCon would not be NeoCon without the introduction of another task chair. Reversing the trend for complexity, Allsteel has worked hard to further enhance comfort levels, whilst at the same time decreasing the intricacy of operation. The resulting sleek product is another hot item. This product has earned a Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) Silver certification from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), partly due to the fact that over 90% of its materials are recyclable.
Authentec Write-Off Collection – Architex
It’s like magic. Ballpoint and ink pen marks can be erased from this polyurethane product using water and a soft cloth. Designed for the healthcare market, just think of the possibilities for this product in the residential environment…
Alloy – Maharam
Maharam also has a 100% polyurethane product that just demands touching. Highly durable, and available in a range of colors, this will be on the market in Spring 2009. Another ultra cool textile from the ultra cool design house.
Blanket by David Rockwell – Maya Romanoff
Time to get cozy. This is a wool-blend fabric that looks like a blanket. With stitch detailing and an acrylic backing, this is a resilient textile, but one that looks soft and appealing. This is sure to capture the imagination. Hot cocoa anyone”
Nautilus – Innovations
This is just beautiful. Mermaid-like scales are achieved by setting very thin layers of mica onto a cellulose backing. The resulting shimmering surface is rich and luxurious and would add that touch of fabulousness to any setting.
Enduit – Weitzner Limited
Designed by Lori Weitzner, this wall covering is inspired by plaster, the name Enduit being the French word for plaster. Formed in high relief, it is delivered in white, allowing for it to be colored specifically for each project. This product brings a traditional material into the modern world.
WALLS & CEILINGS
Wovin Wall – 3form
With plenty of wow factor, Wovin Wall is a 3-D system created by clipping tiles into a grid system. It can easily be fixed to both walls and ceilings. Coming in finishes such as wood veneers, polyresin, and anodized aluminum, this product adds a sculptural touch to interiors. In addition, its modular nature allows spaces to be changed easily and to remain current.
Blob Wall by Greg Lyne – Panelite
Seeing this product, you will wonder if someone has slipped something into your coffee (or tea). Free-form polymer shapes are morphed into a wall-like structure. Each “wall” is produced to custom specifications, making it truly a work of art. This has to be seen to be believed.
IdeaPaint – MDC Wallcoverings
With the tag line “expand your canvas”, IdeaPaint really captures the imagination. This paint transforms a surface into a white board, without that annoying ghosting you’re used to seeing after a while. Boasting green properties, based on its composition of few raw materials, low shipping costs (it is, after all, only the size of a can of paint), and it’s formaldehyde-free formula. Give it a try, and you’ll be hooked.
Qt PRO Sounds Masking and Distribution Audio System – Cambridge Sound Management
This is a unique new product, allowing sound to be successfully masked. Customizable, this is a definite must in all those open-plan commercial spaces.
POWERleap – Lees
Wow! Designed by a truly inspired 23-year old, POWERleap is a floor tile that is able to generate energy as it is walked upon. So as well as the usual Lees sustainable reputation (the product is produced from Antron carpet fiber), think of all that un-harnessed potential energy that could be gathered.
freeBOARD – Anatome
freeBOARD is a new keyboard with a built-in surface for a mouse. By mounting this simple design onto an adjustable arm, this product reduces the need for worksurface space, as well as ensuring that a comfortable work position can be achieved.
Sprout LED lighting system – Light Corporation
Sprout is a system of modular components that share a common power supply, allowing lighting and re-charging to be consolidated. It can also be customized to suit individuals, all made possible by utilizing LED lighting alongside other low-voltage devices.