Interior Design Industry: The Economy Is Back!

Economists often speak of behavioral economics, which explains the financial decisions that people make. While not an established indicator, events like NeoCon 2014 can reflect how people are feeling about the economy. NeoCon, which is North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors, saw increased participation and attendance this week over recent years. Another indicator was the increase of luxurious materials offered for consideration ranging from leather topped tables to back painted glass and a carbon fiber chair that cost more than 1,500 times its weight.

Members of the Page Interiors team were at Neocon 2014 along with more than 40,000 architecture and design professionals. With over three days of non-stop resources, ideas, tours and special events, they’re probably hoping it lives up to its promise of being the one-stop destination of the year. The team came away with clear-cut impressions of trends as well as observations on new offerings:

  • Furniture products for the workplace continue to provide more innovative ways of supporting collaboration and adaptive planning.
  • Color clarity was a recurring theme seen from furniture to textiles to flooring.
  • Simplicity and purity in product design was more noticeable.
  • Acoustic felts were ‘hot’ – in addition to being a visually interesting element, they are flame-retardant fabrics that improve the acoustics of a space.

Page Interiors team members paid particular note to the companies that continue to evolve their technology imbedded in products. DIRTT’s healthcare line includes an offering that monitors whether a caregiver has washed their hands before entering a patient’s room. Steelcase has ‘touchdown’ work stations that can be reserved from a phone. Teleconferencing spaces are now easier to configure thanks to advanced, flexible furnishings – the days of just a polycom speakerphone on a fixed table are gone. Along with connecting, focus is another key word in the workplace so many vendors are providing flexible screening partitions.

The architecture, the beautiful Chicago weather, the cuisine and the Merchandise Mart delighted all. Thanks to all our partners in the design industry for having a great show!