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Notes From NeoCon 2011
Products 10 years ago No Comments

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notes_neocon11.gifThough NeoCon took place over two months ago, the experience is still fresh in my mind. Whether you missed it altogether or took the trek but just didn’t get to explore the entire mountain that is The Merchandise Mart, you’re certain to discover at least one nugget of gold via the following links and photos.

Antron® | Who would have ever thought that something as seemingly lifeless as carpet fiber could evoke such fantastical feelings” Certainly not me, but Antron pulled it off beautifully in their spectacular showroom. Ever changing LED lighting schemes transformed simple hanging clusters of white yarn into a futuristic playground. GO HERE to see professionally shot showroom photos and video.

Seeyond Architectural Solutions | I was completely taken with this modular, flexible set of building blocks for adults that had its coming out party at this year’s show. Apparently others were too as the manufacturer scored both an Innovation Award and a Gold Award in Architectural Products in the 2011 Best of NeoCon® Awards. Set up in the North Lobby so that the installation had enough room to breathe, the product was described to me by representative John Reinan as “a parametric design and building system that allows an interior designer to create virtually any feature they can imagine. The designer creates a feature in a 3D modeling app. A digital robot cuts the pieces from flat stock. Then the pieces are folded origami-style and assembled without visible hardware to form the completed feature.” On-site I also met with Seeyond General Manager Nat Porter, who answered my practical questions regarding a) representation, b) acquisition, c) installation, and d) lead-time. Answers: a) by independent reps; b) through general contractors; c) by authorized installation teams; d) 6-8 weeks from time of final approval with a couple of weeks tacked on if integrating customized graphics. To infinity and Seeyond!

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3form | I always look forward to visiting the 3form booth to soak in the colors, fondle the textural samples and fawn over their plethora of premium products, but I was especially impressed by the Ready to Go solutions they were showcasing this year. Aptly named, this line consists of 75+ specification “packages” ranging from doors, tables and benches to partitions, shelves and ceiling features. Not only does the 3form material come fully fabricated, but the packages also include all the associated hardware components. The cherry on top is that 3form also supplies the respective CAD and Revit drawings that designers can quickly drop into their construction documents. Ready to Go = Ready. Set. Go!

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Philips Color Kinetics | I continue to be mesmerized and intimidated by the fast pace of LED innovations in the market place. The vast number of application options, the level of technological prowess involved in the planning and execution of dynamic installations, and the infinite ways that they can be used – not just to illuminate spaces and structures, but also to save energy, lower utility costs, communicate ideas, target audiences, evoke feelings, and generally wow the public – makes my head hurt. Color me delightfully confused.

LINAK | Do you remember the old BASF commercials where the voiceover would say things like “We don’t make the computer screen – we make it sharper,” or “We don’t make the surfboard, we make it lighter”” Well, Linak is sort of like that. They don’t make the adjustable tables, but they make the slick instruments that allow the tables to move up and down smoothly and quietly. Following the principle that the human body is design to move, LINAK’s electric actuators allow for adjustable height surfaces at the office, in healthcare settings, and in the home. Their many mechanisms allow businesses to accommodate those with disabilities and injuries, as well as to help employees lead healthier, more productive lives. Not limited just to desk installations, LINAK also offers adjustable solutions for beds, flat screen televisions and kitchens that will actually “lift” your spirits. (Sorry.)

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Robert A.M. Stern Collection | The venerable architect known for infusing elegance, classicism and perfection into residences around the world has built upon his personal high-end brand to assemble a collection of interior and exterior commercially-oriented products worthy of his name. Wisely partnering with established manufacturers possessing positive reputations of their own – such as Lightolier, Crossville and Landscape Forms – he has selectively designed a limited number of highly cultivated items exemplifying the Robert A.M. Stern aesthetic. I particularly loved that their gracious booth representative generously passed out beautiful 2GB flash drives in a shiny gold finish containing the Robert A.M. Stern Collection Product Guide. Very refined. But would we expect anything less”

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Maya Romanoff | On Tuesday of NeoCon I attended the breakfast at Maya Romanoff’s gorgeous showroom sponsored by Metropolis magazine. Aptly named “Among Friends,” the informal event featured Editor-in-Chief, Susan Szenasy, conversing with the industry legend himself and his wife, Joyce, company president. Romanoff’s influence runs deep, and I was honored to be there.

Lumisource | I chose Lumisource because their products are just plain fun. Yes, they’ve got some sleeker, more elegant barstools, tables, and chairs suitable for hospitality, retail and corporate settings, but they also have some flashy, whimsical, and downright childish options too. In this case, childish is good, though. Their Kids/Teens line offers mini lounge pieces and ottomans in the shape of crowns, puzzle pieces, lips, and catcher’s mitts in colors that will bring glee to the tween set. Lumisource even offers a line of video gaming chairs that hook up to gaming systems, DVD, CD, and MP3 players, allowing the users to surround themselves in sound and vibration. I’m sure we all know plenty of adult “kids” who would love these too.

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Other Links To Get Your NeoCon 2011 Fix | You can see more of this year’s NeoCon via the Metropolis online slideshow, the Interiors & Sources magazine’s Scenes from NeoCon 2011, and Contract magazine’s 2011 Best of NeoCon® Winners. Lastly, if you just can’t get enough, I’ve also posted a humble, non-professionally photographed (translation: snapshots from my iPhone) account of my 2011 NeoCon experience. Hopefully all of these images will hold you until 2012’s show, which is sure to be just as impressive. See you there!