Last week, we had the privilege to travel to Chicago and attend NeoCon 2023. NeoCon is one of the largest events in the commercial interior design industry. People from all over the globe travel to NeoCon to check out showcases, attend sessions and show off new products to the rest of the community. This year we were able to set up in the INDEAL Inc. showroom and we were able to connect with many colleagues and other professionals in the industry.
We find that during our time at NeoCon, we always can get a good snapshot of the current design trends in the industry. It’s a great way for contract furniture salespeople and those who use The KITS collaborator to get an idea of what people may be looking for in their layouts today. For those who were unable to attend, we’ve put together a NeoCon 2023 recap of the top industry design trends that we saw.
Making Workspaces Feel Like Home
The first trend in our NeoCon 2023 recap is a continuing trend from last year’s event. More and more manufacturers and designers are trying to create a sense of home in the workplace. We continue to be in a period of remote/hybrid work and many of today’s office workers are used to the comforts of home. To make coming to the office as easy as possible for these workers, designing spaces that have some of the comforts of home has been helpful in doing so.
With this trend, we are seeing more casual sitting spaces with lots of comfortable seating like couches and armchairs that wouldn’t look out of place in someone’s home. But we are also seeing an emphasis on décor, especially with plants. All of this creates a comforting calming environment for workers. It’s likely that this trend will continue if we remain in the hybrid work era, which has no sign of ending soon.
Creating Semi-enclosed Spaces
The second trend in our NeoCon 2023 recap is the creation of semi-enclosed spaces. Many offices are open plan spaces from prior trends, and designers have come up with some new creative ways to separate these large open spaces into several smaller ones to improve privacy and create space for focussed work, or places for informal collaboration.
A big trend we saw this year was the use of pergolas to create these semi-enclosed spaces. These structures can be used to create a space that feels smaller but can still let in light and sound, not fully separating you from the outside world. But we are also seeing more creative dividers/cubicle systems that can create spaces for workers that can help them filter out distractions and focus, but not feel totally separated from others.
Bright and Bold Colors
The next trend in our NeoCon 2023 recap is the use of bright bold colors in fabrics. We saw bright pastels as well as some natural colors that were visually impressive as we explored the showroom floor. Going with a bold color choice is a way for a workspace to stand out and feel unique. And it harkens back to a retro period in furniture design which leans into the next trend we saw at NeoCon 2023.
Nostalgia for 70s
Next up in our NeoCon 2023 recap is the emergence of furniture styles that were popular back in the 70s. We’re seeing large, curved couches with large cushions. Waves and soft curves were a big part of the designs which added some nostalgia to the designs. We saw fewer rigid shapes and sharp lines when it came to furniture design. We also saw some colors that were popular in the 70s as well. Deep reds, oranges, and blues were used in the fabrics of this nostalgic furniture.
NeoCon 2023 was a great look into what is going to be used in workplace design over the next year. These trends will most likely continue to evolve and shift, but overall, we are seeing a continued impact of remote/hybrid work on workplace design. But manufacturers are continuing to create products and designs to get workers more interested in their offices and make them feel welcome. If you’re looking to bring attention to these kinds of products and solutions from your own company, taking advantage of high-quality renders and animations is a great way to show clients how they can use them.