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Expectations from Industry Experts for NeoCon 2018

Commercial Interiors Trends

As we look ahead to NeoCon’s 50th anniversary in Chicago this June 11-13, we speak with contract furniture industry experts to get their insights on what to expect. We also have a couple more NeoCon teasers to keep you on your toes before the event. Be sure to join us at Formaspace Office Booth #7-8042, and don’t forget to sign up for one-on-one meetings with Formaspace Office staff who will give you a personal tour of our latest designs debuting at NeoCon. neocon view from outside

With less than three weeks until the doors open to NeoCon’s 50th-anniversary exhibition, anticipation for the show is mounting.

Earlier, we provided you a few teasers and sneak peek glimpses of what’s in store for you to see at the Formaspace Office exhibit booth #7-804 at NeoCon 2018.


Meet Our Panel of NeoCon Contract Furniture Experts

This week, we turn to a panel of furniture industry veterans to hear from industry leaders about what they expect to see at NeoCon 2018. Special thanks to Gibson Interior Products for providing the A&D relationships for this article with ZGF architects and Spector Group NY.


We’ve asked each of them to peer into their virtual crystal ball to predict which trends will be highlighted at NeoCon 2018 and which ones will be yesterday’s news.


Russell Frees Executive Vice President, Principal at HenricksenRussell Frees

Executive Vice President, Principal at Henricksen

Neocon 2018 marks the 28th year in a row that Russell Frees will be attending. He’ll be joined by other colleagues from Henricksen, a leading national contract furniture dealership based in the Chicago area. The company has seven U.S. locations with annual sales topping $240 million.


Raul Garcia Associate Partner at ZGF ArchitectsRaul Garcia-Moncada

Associate Partner at ZGF Architects

Raul Garcia-Moncada says he’s attended NeoCon so many times “I’ve already lost count!” Raul will be joined at NeoCon 2018 by his colleagues at New York City-based ZGF architects.



Heather Kampa Interior Design Lead and Associate Vice President at HGA Architects and EngineersHeather Kampa

Interior Design Lead and Associate Vice President at HGA Architects and Engineers

NeoCon 2018 will be Heather Kampa’s third time attending the event. Kampa will be joined by her colleagues at Minneapolis-based HGA Architects and Engineers. She’s looking forward to an “amazing” event in Chicago that will live up to its billing as NeoCon’s 50 year anniversary.


Jill Kramer Furniture Services Project Manager at LPA Inc.Jill Kramer

Furniture Services Project Manager at LPA Inc.

Neocon 2018 marks the 11th year that Jill Kramer will attend the event. She will be joined by five of her colleagues from the Irvine (Orange County) office of LPA Inc., an architecture and planning firm that also offers full-service furniture management solutions for corporate and government accounts, from procurement to installation. Kramer recently specified tables from Formaspace Office: “The ATEP project was the first time I specified the product. I am extremely happy with the quality and the design and how durable these tables will be for this project.”


Nicole Miskiewicz Senior Interior Designer at Spector Group ArchitectsNicole Miskiewicz

Senior Interior Designer at Spector Group Architects

Nicole Miskiewicz is a NCIDQ Certified Senior Interior Designer with 10 years experience. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of technology with degrees in exhibition design and interior design, Miskiewicz is a senior interior designer for Spector Group Architects, which is based in New York and Long Island.

Also joining our panel of experts weighing in on what we can expect to see at NeoCon 2018 is Formaspace Office’s EVP of Sales, Frank Bucher:


Frank Bucher Executive Vice President of Sales at Formaspace OfficeFrank Bucher

Executive Vice President of Sales at Formaspace Office

Frank Bucher has over 22 years of sales and sales management experience in the contract furniture market. He joined Formaspace Office in mid-2017, and since then Formaspace Office expanded its representative network with over 40 reps nationwide, as well as monitored highest revenue consecutively four months in Q1 2018.


What’s the Outlook for Campus-Style, Open Space Office Design Elements?

Across all industries, innovative companies are looking for an edge to beat out their competition. Increasingly, the battle for success hinges on recruiting and retaining Millennial and Gen Z workers who have the right technical skills for today’s high-tech knowledge economy jobs. As these two generations transition from college campuses into the workforce, they are making their preferences known by choosing to work at campus-style office designs that mimic the open style academic environments they are familiar with.

As Interior Designer, Gracie Conner, of Sixthriver Architects, noted during our recent interview on the rise of custom furniture, “In corporate design, there is a push for open concept, which is great, but this does come with its challenges, because there is now an emerging trend to create little private spaces within the bigger open spaces.”

How do our panelists feel about Campus-Style, Open Space Offices?

Heather Kampa feels that overall “studies show that an open office is the best fit for everyone,” but she also cautions that this approach can create concerns due to lack of privacy. The challenge is to find ways to refine open office space designs to provide isolation for certain types of work. However, fiscal issues (e.g. identifying sufficient budgets) have to be worked out to find a solution.

Russell Frees agrees that privacy is an issue. He expects to see additional new products at NeoCon 2018 that are focused on creating private spaces.


Is the Resi-Mercial Office Furniture Design Train Unstoppable?

One of the dominating trends at NeoCon 2017 was the sudden rise of “resi-mercial” office furniture design. We wanted to know if this design direction (the marriage of commercial office interiors with home-inspired design elements, such as comfortable, overstuffed sofas, casual seating and residential-style interior lighting) is a bellwether trend that will be with us for many years to come or just a flash in the pan.

Russell Frees thinks resi-mercial is a trend that’s here to stay, at least for NeoCon 2018.

Jill Kramer agrees, but she’s hoping for more refinement this year that focuses on design. In her view, much of the resi-mercial furniture at NeoCon 2017 was rushed to market. Adding another year of design development time will, hopefully, result in more fully refined furniture products at NeoCon 2018.

Nicole Miskiewicz expects to see a continuation of the resi-mercial furniture trend at NeoCon 2018. She predicts exhibitors will be showing more natural, textural materials with neutral colors that provide a warm, homelike feeling. Miskiewicz also predicts that mid-century modern shapes will continue to inspire furniture design elements and accessories. She also predicts that natural, exposed live edge products and technology will be big trends at NeoCon 2018.

On the other hand, Heather Kampa is hoping the resi-mercial furniture trend has peaked. She’d prefer to see fewer office furnishings that are inspired by a residential design in favor of a return to office furniture that features clean lines.


Will Office Designs Inspired by “French Farmhouses” and “Pastoral Imagery” be on Trend at Neocon 2018?

Raul thinks that resi-mertial design trend for offices will continue; in fact, he thinks it is poised to go in a more romantic, some might say “shabby chic” direction.

Here is Raul’s prediction for NeoCon 2018 in full:

“Interiors are gearing towards maximalist and over-the-top spaces. Still resi-mercial but in a “French farmhouse” manner. I think this will be the year of juxtaposition of extremely refined and luxurious elements with lots of details against more “pastoral,” worn and distressed elements… a nostalgia for the lost & found.”

“Upholsteries will be soft and tactile but bold colored, metals will remain in the brass family in contrast with matte black, woods will be warmer in the “honey-colored” family. Patterns for wall treatments and upholsteries will be bold and reminiscent in shape and scale to those from the 70s and 80s.”


How Will Custom Furniture Designs Fare at NeoCon 2018?

Given the recent significant uptick in demand for custom furniture, we wanted to ask our panelists how they felt about manufacturers exhibiting custom products at NeoCon 2018.

All our panelists agreed that they were eager to see custom furniture designs. Russell Frees is especially interested in offerings from smaller manufacturers. Jill Kramer says they are actively seeking out customization solutions, such as those offered by Formaspace Office. Heather Kampa agrees that NeoCon is the right venue to find both relevant custom furniture as well as NEW product designs.

Raul is enthusiastic about custom designs as well. “There is definitely a need to “personalize” a space with items specifically designed for it, even if that means just changing a countertop or work surface material for something that is not necessarily part of the manufacturer’s array of finishes.”

Frank Bucher notes that “a lot of large companies, especially in the West Coast now, you’re seeing custom stepping into the picture because they don’t want it to feel scripted. They don’t want it to feel like it’s part of something that the company across the street is going to have.”

“So there’s now a term out there for this, called co-creation. Many companies are looking to co-create a product that suits the needs of the individual end user. As part of this trend, here at Formaspace Office, we’re seeing probably 50 percent of what we sell to office dealers is a custom product in one way, shape, or form. We’re trying to grow this portion of the business, and our revolutionary real-time Virtual Furniture Designer is part of our strategy.”


SM – 3DCon – WIII


We’d like to extend a warm thank you to each of our panelists for giving us their insights and predictions for what we can expect at NeoCon 2018.

Now we have some news of our own for NeoCon, including a few more sneak peeks of what we’ll be bringing to Formaspace Office’s Booth 7-8042 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.


New Sneak Peeks of Formaspace Office Furniture Concepts at NeoCon 2018

Formaspace Office Is competing in the Best of NeoCon 2018 competition in two categories.

Our first entry is in the Space Dividers/Partition/Screens category.

Hackable Gallery Panels - Best of NeoCon

Here, we have entered a design that was custom crafted for a well-known Silicon Valley tech company. This company ordered hundreds of these space dividers — kitted out with laser cut gallery panels that reflect the company’s unique design language and branding.

Our second entry in the Best of NeoCon 2018 competition is in the height adjustable tables category.


This design also features a laser-cut privacy panel. While it may look delicate, this is one strong piece of furniture: it’s designed to handle a weight capacity of a full 1,000 pounds. It’s fully height adjustable as well, using an internal hydraulic system that raises the entire work service (including the privacy panel) up or down as a unit — all at the touch of a button.

We also have a contest for you!

When you visit the Formaspace Office Booth #7-8042, you’ll be able to take a turn playing a game on our (still secret) gaming table.

The first person who wins the game fair and square (see the rules of the game here) will win an iPhone X!


Check out the Weldmarx I Height Adjustable Desk coming with us to NeoCon this year


See You at NeoCon 2018 at Formaspace Office Booth 7-8042

We’re looking forward to meeting you at NeoCon 2018.


Happy hour -neocon 2017


Be sure to stop by to play our game, visit us at happy hour, enjoy some free giveaways, and grab a drink ‘koozie,’ handy cell phone “PopSocket,” and a coloring book for doodling new furniture designs.

If you’d like to book an appointment to have a one-on-one meeting and tour of our new line of custom furniture products, sign up online.

If you can imagine it, we can build it.

Come see us at Formaspace Office Booth 7-8042 and see why famous companies such as Yeti, Oculus, Apple, Google, Twitter, and Capital One choose Formaspace Office furniture.