NeoCon 2018 trend report

Every June, NeoCon welcomes thousands of visitors at The Mart in Chicago, USA.
In 2018, the commercial design fair celebrated its 50th edition. Exhibiting products from both leading companies and emerging talent, NeoCon offers innovations and inspiration that help shape the world today and tomorrow. The fair, which is so big that it even has its own zip code, gives us an excellent indication of how the commercial market is evolving. That’s why we summed up 5 emerging trends that are reforming the industry as we speak.

#1 | The convergence of commercial and residential interiors

Even though NeoCon is a commercial design fair focussing on office, hospitality, education, retail and healthcare, it radiated a very homey atmosphere. We spotted soft carpets as well as office desks and lounges that could easily be found in your own home. It’s safe to say that the line dividing commercial and residential interiors is being blurred. Home interior trends, e.g. mixing metallic shades, continue to emerge in commercial spaces. The design world has become a melting pot of ideas and concepts that can be applied to any field. As for workplaces, we spend so much of our time at the office, so why shouldn’t it feel as snug as home or have a relaxing café-like canteen?

#2 | Wellbeing at the office

The topic of wellness and wellbeing at the office was very present at NeoCon. We saw a lot of open-plan offices that encourage coworking and collaboration, standing desks that inspire a more active work-lifestyle, and biophilic designs that try to reconnect us to nature. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a new workplace that doesn’t take into account the human side. Wellness and wellbeing have become a staple of modern office design. Paying attention to the comfort and health of the workforce also has positive effects on efficiency, productivity and creativity. Win-win situation, right!

#3 | It’s all about colour and patterns

In the world of carpets, we noticed that the colour palettes are diverging from grey-toned and neutral colours to more vibrant colours as well as pastels and metallics. Neutral-toned carpets were still there, but instead of having subtle patterns, they had very graphic ones. Some products even combined zesty colours and shifting shapes into one very bold and dynamic carpet.

The Bentley showroom during NeoCon 2018. Left: The Drawing Room series by Bentley. Right: Blaze by modulyss.
Blaze is a minituft carpet tile, part of the Delight collection, that brings the luxurious touch of subtle metallic shine to your office design. 
The Drawing Room collection, featuring an edgy graphic pattern, won the silver Best of NeoCon award in the broadloom carpet category.

#4 | Exploring other dimensions

There’s no denying that virtual reality is revolutionizing the industry, but also in the field of carpet more manufacturers are experimenting with 3D-textures. A technique we saw popping up increasingly is tip shearing, an excellent method for adding dimension to your carpet. By tufting some loops higher than others and then shearing it, you get an interesting play of texture because the higher loops get cut and appear darker in colour. The modulyss Velvet& collection, for example, uses tip shearing to recreate the texture of velvet. (You can read more about it here.)

#5 | Sustainable innovations

Another hot topic that is perpetually occupying our minds is sustainability. At NeoCon, we saw several solutions and innovations. Manufacturers are getting creative with waste materials like plastic, which was chosen as the Material of the Year at the London Design Festival 2018. At modulyss, we’re also constantly looking for sustainable solutions as we’re determined to lower our carbon footprint.