NeoCon East 2017 in Review

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Chair of the Month

Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro
Elise Shapiro is a contributing editor. Little did she know that her first job, in the facilities department at Ralston Purina, while obtaining her M. Arch at Washington University, in St. Louis would foreshadow where her career would lead. She has always been a strong advocate for providing the best possible spaces for people to work – where aesthetics meet function and drive business success.

The 15th annual show was held in Philadelphia on November 15th and 16th.

We ventured forth on an early morning train with anticipation that the event would give us the opportunity to see many new products featuring sustainable design elements and new technology. The manageable size and scale of the exhibition allowed us to see things in a more focused and intimate way than the more robust NeoCon in June. Due to the proximity of many GSA specifiers, many items showcased are on the GSA schedule, and exhibiting in this venue gives them the opportunity to see what’s new in person.

Neocon East showcased a variety of products to support work place function and efficiency. Image courtesy of Elise Shapiro.

In the furniture category, there was considerable focus on products providing enhanced ergonomic support. As sit to stand accommodations are one of the hottest topics in this category, we saw numerous items to help facilitate changing work posture throughout the day.

One of the most interesting products we saw was Movi Workspace’s standing desk. Designed in concert with health experts, this product can transform any work surface to standing position, thus providing an easily installed, and portable option for workers.

Movi Workspace’s Standing Desk can transform any work surface! See the product demonstration here. Image courtesy of Elise Shapiro.

Other products focusing on ergonomic features included Nienkamper’s Align, an adjustable height stool, which was specifically designed to support working at adjustable height desks. The stool can be adjusted for height control which is a key factor in giving people many options to adjust their posture throughout the work day.

Nienkamper’s Align stool works with multiple work surface heights. Image courtesy of Nienkamper.

Another pressing concern in workplace design, is managing acoustics in open environments. Framery continues to develop its “O” phone booth concept which allows people to easily tuck into a soundproof environment. The company also displayed the “Q” meeting pod, a place where up to four people can engage without disturbing adjacent workers.

Framery’s “O” phone booth provides a quiet oasis in open plan office configurations. Image courtesy of Framery.
Framery’s “Q” meeting pod can accommodate 2-4 people for collaboration in a quiet atmosphere. Image courtesy of Framery.

Ganter featured their state of the art Networked Locking System, the GAT NET.Lock 7000 which provides an electronic locking solution for employee lockers which are often used in open plan settings for use by employees in hoteling or free address situations. See the product demonstration here.

Other products displayed included the GAT Lock 6010, GAT ECO.Lock 7100, GAT ECO.Side Lock, and the GAT Info 6100 so attendees could preview multiple options for their secure storage needs.

More conventional furnishings were showcased by ICF Group. Their product offerings featured new additions to their acoustic screen collection, “Airbloom” and “Lovi Tree.”

Detail of “Airbloom” by ICF Group – a unique acoustical screen solution. Image courtesy of ICF Group.

The natural elements theme is also represented in their Bower Collection – designed by Adam Goodrum. The aesthetic for these new product introductions are predicated on inspiring a feeling of nature and calmness in the workplace.

Andrew Goodrum’s Bower Collection – The woven surrounds also have acoustic properties. Image courtesy of ICF Group.

There was no shortage of tables on display. Products that stood out were Spec Furniture with their extremely versatile EndZone tables. We also liked SurfaceWorks Rapport Media Table products. Their line also includes many options for meeting and occasional tables.

Flooring manufacturer’s also showed product with a nature inspired design aesthetic. Shaw Contract featured “Off The Grid”, cued by the many colors and textures in nature the available color ways reflect what is found in the natural world. The “Emergence” product lines were inspired by the play of shadow and light with a range of neutral colors and higher intensity jewel tones.

Patcraft’s display featured LVT collection “Subtractive Layers” which 2017 Best of Neocon winner, Silver for hard surface flooring. Subtractive Layers is designed to withstand physical demands, and features a 20-mil wear layer. The collection also allows for roller mobility of hard surface and ease of installation and maintenance.  The Material Paradox products is a collection of modular carpet tiles designed on the premise of light and texture.

Inspired by Patcraft’s hard surface designer Kelly Stewart’s paintings, the tiles feature a linear, striated color design. Image courtesy of Patcraft.

Neocon East takes careful consideration to show products that may be missed with the hoopla at their larger June event. It was great to have the opportunity to see products that fit the bill for GSA and end user requirements. While a few of the larger manufacturers, Knoll, Global, Indiana and AIS brought items introduced in June, there were other options for seating and systems that are more geared for rapid selection, specification, and deployment. Readers facing those challenges should consider investigating product offerings such as Eurotech9 to 5 Seating, and Offices to Go. Ancillary furniture offerings included ICF Group and Andreu World.

We really enjoyed the displays by Naava, with their living wall solution and a furniture solution and Iron Age Office’s carbon steel and butcher-block crafted workplace solution.


Check out additional information about NeoCon East here!

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