More than a launchpad for new furniture designs, Chicago’s NeoCon is also an unveiling event for the year’s most innovative solutions ranging from performance textiles to productivity accessories. In our third and final wrapup of NeoCon 2016, we present our top picks from these categories for all of your contract design needs.
Clarus Glassboards: Clarus Flip
The writable-glass company showed off a fun-yet-practical product this year that combines both acoustical and usable surface components. Clarus Flip is a swing-panel system that sports acoustical felt on one side and writable, magnetic glass on the other. The PET felt is thermo-pressed with any of five geometric patterns and comes in 15 colors, while the glass comes in more than 150 hues. At this time, each panel comes in a standard size of 23.4 inches wide by 48 inches high. All mounting hardware is included.
Herman Miller: Exclave and Ode Lamp
Previewed last year, the Exclave product is now available for purchase and essentially equips spaces with elements that enable people and teams to share ideas more spontaneously. It comprises a rail and board system that accommodates interchangeable whiteboards and tackboards; mobile and freestanding boards and carts; and media walls.
Like a friendly mushroom sprouting from a tabletop, desktop or floor, Herman Miller’s Ode Lamp sports an organic shade made of spun steel and an integrated diffusing lens that shields eyes from LED glare. Designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, it comes in table, sofa-height floor or standing-height floor lamp versions and in black or white. The lamp’s stem is really a discreet touch control to switch on, off or dim Ode’s light.
Humanscale: QuickStand Lite and Vessel
Not every office can replace its desking systems with sit-to-stand models. So it made sense that some NeoCon exhibitors showcased retrofitting options that can raise an entire desk or just arms for elevating computer screen and keyboard. One of the latter, Humanscale’s QuickStand Lite features a counterbalance mechanism that enables easy switching between postures. The platform can be positioned in any direction within a 40-inch radius thanks to an articulating arm.
Humanscale design partner Todd Bracher designed this architectural luminaire with a clear quartz crystal cylinder that captures and beautifully diffuses the light of a single LED source. It comes in three lengths and in pendant or sconce form with aluminum details in clear anodized, bronze, gold, wine, black or white finish.
This whimsical acoustical and visual privacy product is composed of felt fiber that’s been molded into — what else? — the shape of foliage. Airleaf modules are hung on straight or curved rail systems to visually divide space or provide sound absorption. The felt comes in 30 colors.
Knoll: Antenna Horsepower
This was really a 2015 introduction, but it commanded such a presence in the Knoll showroom as attendees clamored to charge their smartphones and tablets that it’s worth bringing up. Conceived by Antenna Design, the cheeky charging station takes the form of a simple sawhorse and can be linked to create longer beams. Horsepower can be specified with glide legs or casters for mobility, in 24-, 30-, 36- or 48-inch widths and in paint, laminate or veneer finish.
Teknion: Sanna Lamp
Lighting designer Pablo Pardo lends his expertise to the office furniture manufacturer with this cheery LED lamp that looks anything but office-y. Sanna is offered as a desk, table or floor light, has a ring-shaped steel base in a range of colors and a felt-polycarbonate shade — also in a variety of colors — that can be adjusted via a leather pull.
Carnegie: Reflectacoustic and Collage
The textile company generated buzz a couple years ago when it introduced a drapery sheer that actually has acoustical yarns woven in. This year, Carnegie went a step further with its Reflectacoustic, which helps control sound while reducing solar heat gain and glare through a combination of yarn, weaving and metallized backing technology.
On the upholstery side, Carnegie’s Collage turned heads with its play of geometry and color. The design is available in six classic and vibrant colorways and is constructed of 40 percent post-consumer polyester, 38 percent cotton and 22 percent nylon. It can withstand up to 100,000 double rubs in testing, making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
HBF Textiles: Christiane Müller Collection
There’s not one pattern that we could single out from this group of gorgeous tactile fabrics designed by Amsterdam-based Christiane Müller. Each distinct pattern — from a quilt-like raised grid to plush plaid — takes inspiration from works by various creative leaders: architect Peter Zumthor, fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck and sculptor Isa Genzken, to name a few. The seven designs are offered in 45 colorways that range from muted and neutral to jewel toned.
Luum Textiles: Starting Point
The debut collection for a new brand of office furnishings giant Teknion, the aptly named Starting Point was designed by textile master Suzanne Tick who looked to pre-digital analog processes such as hand weaving for inspiration. It includes two large- and two small-scale upholstery fabric designs, two multipurpose fabrics and three products that are suitable for vertical and panel applications.
Wolf-Gordon: Level by Mae Engelgeer
Amsterdam-based textile designer Mae Engelgeer created an abstract, modern pattern that almost appears architectural with its linearity and right angles, and played with its scale, spacing and color. The resulting collection includes four upholstery fabrics and one drapery textile (as well as two digitally printed wall coverings).
Another notable Wolf-Gordon appearance this year was not a product, but a showcase of a wide range of the company’s upholstery textiles. Office_Excavate was a special installation in the Mart’s lobby that served as a respite for weary show attendees. The anchoring element was an 18-foot-long grotto-like banquette of asymmetrical forms covered in various Wolf-Gordon fabrics.