Neocon 2018: Highlights from the Golden Year

And that’s a wrap! NeoCon 2018, North America’s largest and most popular contract furnishing exhibition, just completed its long-awaited 50th edition. This year’s exhibitors highlighted what the future of design will look like, with some spectacular contemporary and biophilia inspired designs.

Here’s our highlights from the show.

Phone Booths Everywhere!

It wasn’t hard to notice an increase in the number of phone booths populating NeoCon’s exhibition floors. Over at the always popular Steelcase space was their brand new SnapCab, a new partner to Steelcase’s network, offering stand-alone offices that easy to install, customizable, and suited to any environment.

A refreshing new phone booth on display was Jabbrrbox who position themselves as an on-demand private space to escape the mobs.  After the launch of a successful pilot program, Jabbrrbox introduced the JabbrrX, a cutting-edge IoT workspace solution at NeoCon 2018.

Polish Manufacturer Mikomax also debuted their HUSH pods, a premium take on Acoustic pods, broken up by HUSHPhone, HUSHMeet, and HUSHwork.

Acoustics + Lighting

A theme we loved at NeoCon was manufacturers that combined the Acoustic and lighting functionality to make for stunning products. Check out some of the cool stuff from BuzziSpace, Baresque, DeVorm, Green Furniture Concept and Koncept!


With each year, the line between furniture and digital technology gets thinner and thinner, with brands finding innovative ways to merge two. At NeoCon 2018, we found plenty of workspace tech solutions in the line with the event’s office of the future theme.

One example was the newly launched Live Aeron – Herman Miller’s best selling chair now digitally enhanced. Coupled with the app, the ergonomic chair relays real-time information to a responsive system, who in turn, instructs the chair to ‘nudge’ users to correct their posture when seated!

Another interesting new innovation was Interstuhl’s S 4.0 Active Sitting Solution, developed in cooperation with Garmin. According to the developers, “The application offers feedback on the user’s personal sitting habits, easy office workouts and regular reminders for the user to adjust their posture”.

Meanwhile, Teknion’s brand new workplace technology concept, Cerebro, passively connects and maintains comfortable lighting levels and monitor eye heights when using three common workplace products – a height-adjustable table, task light and display monitor arm.

Not forgetting conferencing solutions, we made sure to check out Evoko’s Pusco – a complete, all-in-one system made to improve public space communication, it’s as good as a plug-in-play system.

Framery 2Q

Framery definitely made their presence known at NeoCon 2018, with not 1 but 3 locations at Merchandise Mart. They upped the ante this NeoCon with their Oasis of Happiness, a must-see stop located on the 1st floor North Central corridor. At NeoCon’s 50th edition, they launched its latest innovation in soundproof workspaces – The 2Q, the big brother of the Framery Fleet. Framery also presented a new option for the classic Framery O phone booth – the Framery O Video Conference Ready, the optimal frame for video conferencing.

The 2Q

Herman Miller

Herman Miller is always a Day 1 stop for NeoCon’s visitors. We got a chance to check the Canvas Vista, a desking system that makes small workstations feel big and inviting. Designed by Joey Ruiter, the provides compression without compromise, giving people all they need in a space they can personalize. With the home-office design vibes doing the rounds, the Canvas Vista looks like a great fit in the new modern office.


The Interface showroom was busy as ever this year round. The modular flooring company and global leader in sustainability introduced its latest global luxury vinyl tile (LVT), Drawn Lines, to visitors of NeoCon 2018. The product’s design is influenced by the geometric patterns found in nature – fractals. Drawn Lines uses layered filament-fine marks in varying weights and rhythms to create a prismatic geometry in an array of scales.

We also got the rare opportunity to chat with David Oakey, founder of David Oakey Designs and the exclusive product designer for Interface. David’s also champions the sustainability efforts at Interface, and is expert at incorporating Biomimicry to inspire designs.


The team at Steelcase wanted to herald in a new workspace experience at NeoCon 2018, and this year, the leading manufacturer opened the doors to a brand new Chicago WorkLife experience on the occasion of NeoCon’s golden jubilee. For the first time, Steelcase, Coalesse, and Turnstone, along with an extensive new network of partners, came together in the newly expanded and redesigned showrooms to unveil innovative new products and experiences that define the future of work.  The newly expanded and redesigned showrooms have already won International Interior Design Association (IIDA) & Contract Magazine’s 2018 Best of Competition and 2018 Best Large Showroom at NeoCon. Together, they celebrated the extensive range of Steelcase offerings — from the iconic new SILQ chair to collaborations with Microsoft and West Elm — bringing to life a new vision for the future of work.

Neocon 2018
Steelcase Partners

The brand new SILQ chair is a work of art. In case you missed it, LTD managed to get in on the action way before NeoCon 2018 with a full product review, and we’re still talking about it. And who can blame us? People were waiting in line to sit on it. That carbon fiber finish, in particular, is something to admire.

NeoCon 2018
SILQ. Image Courtest: Steelcase


NeoCon 2018
Image Courtesy: Haworth

Haworth had plenty of reason to celebrate this NeoCon. The leading North American manufacturer celebrated 70 years of contract furniture innovation with a Live Studio and some interesting CEU throughout NeoCon’s 3 days. A virtual tour of their Organic Workspace solution was designed to demonstrate workspace designs that foster creativity, nurture culture and support well-being.

A really cool element we loved was the Live Studio right at the front, as well as the new Maari Chairs, active work chairs with that timeless wood base side chair from its family of seating.

Neocon 2018
Haworth Live Studio

Teknion + Studio TK

We’re totally in love with Teknion‘s new tn Storage & Accessories Collection, designed by Toan Nguyen. “tn is a series of universal desktop accessories and freestanding storage items that address these new needs for storage and organization in the modern workstation. tn provides a new and unique way to solve a common, everyday problem”, says Toan.

Studio TK’s showroom was another one we just had to visit to check out the beautiful Borough range, designed by Paris-based Christophe Pillet. The modular lounge collection with a casual sophistication is proof that rattan blended styles are finding their way into the modern workplace. No wonder it won the best of NeoCon Silver for Lounge Furniture Collection.

Thinking Works

Now here’s piece that made us stop and think [ 😉 ].

A 2018 HiP Award Honoree, The Thinking Cone is an overhead meeting space designed to create privacy for users, significantly reducing noise and creating a balanced sound environment. Belonging to the ThinkingQuietly conference line, it offers a solution for peace and quiet within collaborative space, creating an environment for maximizing productivity and ideas. In a lively setting, ThinkingQuietly’s range of acoustic furniture turns the volume down on peripheral sound.


There’s no hiding it. Halcon makes tables that nearly make us drool. The Motus Table with wireless charging was it this time, what a stunner. Luxury, sophistication, and new tech – all in one. And lets not forget the Skillset table winning Silver in the Training & Work category too!


The Buzzispace area is always an exciting area to visit. This NeoCon, Acoustic solutions manufacturer launched BuzziSpark, and the funky new BuzziPuzzle. It’s BuzziHat won Silver in the Lighting: Decorative category.

We particularly love the BuzziSpark and the mystery element that comes with it’s design – you won’t know if you’re sharing it with a fellow traveler looking for some acoustic comfort.  And of course, the BuzziPuzzle, their new range of sound-absorbing poufs and a playful addition to their furniture range that can fit together in a chain of sound-balancing seats.

Knoll Textiles

KnollTextiles presented the Interwine Collection by Dorothy Cosonas in a truly captivating fashion. To mark the 10-year anniversary of Knoll Luxe, the team got really creative with their fabrics, the result of which you can see below.

NeoCon 2018
KnollTextiles by Dorothy Cosonas


The leading manufacturer of superior quality writable glass surfaces in North America, Clarus debuted their NeoCon 2018 Gold winning product, Glide. The first of its kind, Glide is a fully integrated system, that allows glass to smoothly move across wall-mounted glassboards — an aesthetic, high design glassboard that will last for decades.


Iconic Swiss manufacturer Vitra focused on their collaboration with Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec as the central theme of this year’s presentation at NeoCon. What particularly caught our eye ( it was hard to miss ), was a full chrome version of their Pantone Chair, standing proudly in one corner of the showroom.

NeoCon 2018
Vitra's Pantone Chair in a full chrome finish


The Milliken Team were beaming with pride when we entered their space. And who can blame them? Milliken’s Chicago showroom is currently the only WELL Certified™ space in the Mart and the first WELL Certified™ Platinum space in Chicago – that’s something to be proud of! And to top it off, their Textured Sky range won the Editors’ Choice Award too!

NeoCon 2018
Milliken showroom feature

Shaw Contract

Another product tuned to the home vibes frequency, the Haven collection from Shaw Carpets draws from elements that make one feel at home – comfort, familiarity, a sense of belonging. The collection won Best of NeoCon Gold in the Modular Carpets category.

Haven Collection by Shaw

Davis Furniture

Davis Furniture never fails to impress us. Year after year, the American Family owned business designs and delivers high quality, premium furniture.

What caught our attention? Where do even begin… Jehs+Laub’s Ginkgo Ply Lounge, Plastic and Tango were among those that stood out, as well as the X2 by Dante Bonuccelli. The pictures speak for themselves.

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