NeoCon 2019: Sustainability, Simplicity, Wellness and Modular Design


NeoCon 2019

Sustainability, Simplicity, Wellness & Modular Design

Another year of the NeoCon conference located in downtown Chicago’s legendary Merchandise Mart has yet again come and gone. Benchmarc’s design and sales teams had the opportunity to witness at this year’s show the unveiling of upcoming design trends as well as the showcase of trends that have no sign of retreating. 

Bringing simplicity with a sustainable health and wellness approach to the modern day office space was the prevalent theme inside many of the showrooms from powerhouses like Herman Miller and Steelcase, to Duvaflex and Material Bank. 


Scandinavian Style

The clean, simplistic aesthetic and energy that is brought from the Scandinavian design style was everywhere throughout the show floors at NeoCon 51.

Natural material, muted tones, and decluttered communal spaces were implemented among many vendors across varying scales. The original colors of the Scandinavian furniture style are very much muted, while these days the colors become more powerful. This was very much brought about in the showcases this year.



Health and Wellness

As the importance put on health and wellness across society grows, we see this focus implemented in the design process for the office space as well.  We’ve been seeing the transition away from the traditional secluded cubicle environments and instead towards the design of collaborative, adjustable and communal spaces. Bringing in mobile privacy walls, transforming collaborative seating and design customizability is essential for brands to adopt in order to be successful. As the increase in popularity of mobile and dynamic privacy walls continues, so does the initiative to introduce unique patterns and designs to these dynamic wall designs.





Biophilic Design

Biophilic design was everywhere. From small potted hanging plant fixtures placed strategically around showrooms to full length living walls, green minded products were everywhere you turned. The industry has seen a rapid increase in popularity of natural materials being introduced to designs as we learn more about the importance of “living design” being extremely beneficial for users. Designs that exemplify the importance of natural, raw material to natural light embodiment as well as physical living plant material were constant. This was quite the transition away from the heavy technology transformative design that has been prevalent the last many years at NeoCon. 



Modular design is a trend we have seen growing rapidly among the retail display industry over the last few years. This concept was ever present at NeoCon 51 as well. Stylex introduced Free Address, a coworking system for commercial interiors developed by Jay Koback and Ehren Gaag of Gensler’s award-winning product design group. For clients seeking more flexible solutions, the versatile “kit of parts” allows the combination of surfaces, seating, storage, and privacy to create a unified solution for individual, space-efficient work settings.

As the increase of the health and wellness mindset in the office space continues to transition away from the traditional cubicle sit-at-your-desk all day environment becomes obsolete. Bringing in mobile privacy walls, transforming collaborative seating and design customizability is essential to success for brands in the industry right now.



Sustainability is growing more and more important to clients and users alike. The challenge being presented to companies and designers is one that requires design to not only be aesthetically at the forefront, but also be mindful about how products are being produced.

NeoCon launches included carpets made with ECONYL, regenerated and regenerable nylon created from waste, including fishing nets and old carpets. The company works with other flooring companies, such as Interface, which designs carpet tiles using ECONYL yarn.

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