NeoCon 2016 went by in a flash. If you missed any of it, or just need a refresher, we’ve broken down the 5 things we absolutely loved at NeoCon. (Click on images below to view fullsize)
1. Virtual Reality.
Virtual reality (VR) has made its way to commercial office design and was on display at NeoCon 2016. It makes sense. VR provides an immersive experience for clients. Clients can now see an office’s interior design before the building even exists. VIMtrek’s CataList will allow a client to do a virtual walkthrough of space using an Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR or even Google Cardboard.
Configura’s CET Designer was also on display at NeoCon, and attendees were invited to try the capabilities out using an Oculus Rift (Pictured Below).
Designing for a healthier workspace was also resounding theme at NeoCon 2016. Paul Scalia, Founder the International WELL Building Institute provided NeoCon’s opening keynote. The message of creating a healthier built environment was not lost on attendees. Most designers have already begun to integrate human health considerations into workplace design.
Herman Miller Showroom at NeoCon promoting well and holistic environments
Many designs featured at NeoCon focused on promoting mental and physical wellness. Strong examples included quiet and private spaces that allow for focus and recharging. MetroNaps had their EnergyPod on display, that allow workers to recharge through a nap.
Steelcase supported wellbeing with design, materiality and performance. [Photo: Steelcase]
Sit-stand desks were also in no short supply at NeoCon 2016. These provide workers the flexibility to adjust desk height throughout the day. Sitting is being called the new smoking and sit-stand desks go a long way in combatting workplace health issues. Standing options were also featured at collaborative areas and workplace hubs.
3. Flexible workspaces
One of the stars of the show was BuzziSpace BuzziJungle design. The structure attracted a lot of attention and show attendees clamoured to climb it. It was for a good reason; this type of piece is a designers dream. It provides a creative flair that can inspire Millennials. The BuzziJungle also sends a clear message to employees from any organization that has one: We want to promote collaboration and creativity.
The Buzzijungle oozes creativity and inspiration. [Photo: Jake Sweet]
The BuzziJungle allows for multiple uses – the seating areas can be used to lounge privately or sit across and work collaboratively. Flexibility wasn’t limited to such unique designs at NeoCon 2016.
Flexible workspaces are increasing in popularity in order to meet the needs of a diverse workforce, looking to be inspired by offices that don’t feel dull. As square feet per full time employee decreases, organizations will have to re-evaluate design. Many manufacturers, had new lines on display that could be configured to add flex to third spaces or open offices.
Design Companies are looking for new ways to fit more employees into a smaller space. Multi-function pieces like the the Keilhauer Hangout collection are looking to meet the needs of a smaller, more agile office.
The Hangout Collection by Keilhauer celebrates teamwork while respecting the individual [Photo: Keilhauer]
The Keilhauer Doko Collection provides flexibility as these seats are easy to move and versatile. [Photo: Keilhauer]
4. Privacy in an open office
To balance the design of an open office, manufacturers are offering ways to add specific functionality to spaces. These include spaces to support workplace tasks such as phone and conference calls.
We saw several different takes on providing privacy in an open office:
ADI acoustics’ Snowsound Cubby call zones were a hit at NeoCon. Using a minimal amount of space, they provide privacy for those that need to make calls throughout the day. More privacy for the caller, less noise for their coworkers.
The Snowsound Cubby. A well-designed sound masking system can make the difference between focus and distraction in an open office environment. [Photo: Work Design Magazine]
Other options fully enclosed options were also available, like the Framery Q.
The Framery Q, for two provides privacy and noise control in a sleek design. [Photo: Jennifer Hammell]
Also of note was Teknion Zones collection. The collection encourages both collaboration and workplace flexibility. It features flexible semi-private spaces, used to relax, or outfitted with screens for small meetings.
Zones Hubs add flexibility for privacy and collaboration [Photo: Fiona Cuddy]
5. Increased integration of technology into design
Technology has touched every part of our lives today and the office is no exception. We saw tech applied at the office design level with VR applications, but what about in actual offices?
Workers are now more reliant on mobile hardware and enterprise apps. Manufacturers are responding and we saw an increased integration of technology in design at NeoCon 2016.
The DeccaCharge provides wireless surface charging for the workplace.
Wireless charging in action on the DeccaCharge.
Tech can play a role in adding function and increasing usability, even in the best designed office furniture.
Decca Contract had their integrated wireless charging DeccaCharge table on display at NeoCon. If you’re looking to really wow clients with your boardroom table, consider Decca’s Motile conference table. In line with the other things we loved at NeoCon, this table comes with sit-stand conversion capabilities, built-in wireless charging, and power drawers.