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Best of NeoCon juror comments take us inside the judging process

Jurors thought Keilhauer’s Untucked collection was “a very comprehensive, well thought-out, and stylish collection with a sophisticated, curated feel.”

Wonder what the Best of NeoCon jurors consider when judging the competition? Each product is evaluated on its contribution to the built environment, its solution, functionality, flexibility, quality/durability, aesthetics, innovation, environmental sustainability and price. Here is a sampling of juror comments on winning products detailed by category entered, company name, product and award. (See full list of Best of NeoCon winners here.) 

Lounge Furniture Collections
Keilhauer for Untucked
Best of Competition & Gold Award
Juror Comments: 
A very comprehensive, well thought-out, and stylish collection with a sophisticated, curated feel, covering almost every function needed in a collaborative workplace environment. Emphasis on comfort, materials and quality construction.

Really, really liked this collection. Well thought-out. Good use of materials. The tables are beautiful.

Beautiful collection overall. Multipurpose, can use all of the pieces in one project without it looking repetitive. Very comfortable sit and sustainability measures are commendable.

Allermuir Axyl Chair

Seating: Guest

Allermuir for Axyl Chair
Innovation Award
Juror Comments:
Well engineered, love the simplicity and that is stacks straight up. Prefer the solid color seat options.

Light café bistro chair with lots of clean lines and attention to detail. Concealed bumpers, clean frame and smooth silhouette were strong features. Matt finishes with even paint application on all parts contributed to a finely finished product. Well engineered.

Great lines, very tactile. Love the way it stacks

Seating: Guest

Davis Furniture Industries for Tango
Editors’ Choice Award
Juror Comments:
Very nice details, fabrication and finish options. Top is a little wide for smaller people. The Tango shell chair has beautiful clean lines with quality construction. Rod inserts produce durability and layered veneers create proper thickness at stress points. The curved wood finish with partial upholstery was striking. I thought it was well proportioned as compared to some other chairs in this category. Upscale in quality and craftsmanship.

Nice horizontal wood grain. Beautiful detailing.

The grain direction change is beautiful. Impressive that it can stack. The bottom of the chair is very well finished. Like the variety of finish options and much it changes the aesthetic of the chair.

Designtex + Coalesse

Textiles: Upholstery
Designtex for Designtex + Coalesse Collection
Editors’ Choice Award 
Juror Comments:
What a lovely collection. The attention to detail, to scale, to texture, and to color is excellent. We really enjoyed the experience of handling the textiles and appreciate the design intent and execution. It’s a great line and the jurors held it as a top four choice from a large group of entries. Great job!

Commend you on the research on the colors.

Color scale and pattern study. San Fran to NYC attitude towards color. Furniture manufacturer’s first priority is how it looks on their furniture. Small and large works well. Middle-size pattern has problems. No medium is required.

Beautifully conceived line with wonderful coloration. Patterns are very usable and coordinating small and large scale applications are appreciated. It was appreciated that seaming and upholstering was considered in the design of the collection. Subtle and beautiful collections of soft textures and colors.

Seating: Sofas & Lounge
ICF for Land Lounge Chair
Innovation Award
Juror Comments:
Very innovative -love that it can be used indoor and out -fluid and calming -not a bad price point at $1,680 list -really like this chair.

Nice design story – good color options and good price.

Milliken Textured Sky

Carpet: Modular
Milliken for
Textured Sky
Editors’ Choice Award 
Juror Comments:
Landscape artist designed, including loop and sheer pattern, 20 colors, stand alone or coordinating, plank and 50 centimeter, comfort plus cushioned carpet for sit to stand and breathes to let vapor out and acoustic reduction by 50%, 28 oz., high $20’s, great patterns and texture.

Great backing. Color palette works for any application. Hospitality feel I really like the texture of this product. Like the plank style over the square. Nice products! 20 colors and 3 patterns. Two sizes High 20s in price. Can be installed on wet slabs. Solution dyed and two nylons.

Sustainability and wellness story was very compelling. Range of materials very nice, carpet feels plush and luxurious. Very nice colorway.

Mohawk Group Healthy Environments

Healthcare Flooring
Mohawk Group for Healthy Environments
Innovation Award
Juror Comments:
Beautiful color options. Loved the patterns. Love the science behind this, hence the Innovation award, but not the most beautiful design offering this year. Keep up the great science work but don’t forget beautiful design too. While the desert southwest can be inspiring it is hard to beautifully translate it into products.

Beautiful story and inspiration for the collection. I think the color way that was chosen for the install in the show rooms was perhaps not the best (we tend to stay way from that tone of green in most healthcare environments). The carpet patterns are nice and are useable. I like the neutral tones and the terrazzo look hard floor.

Excellent sustainability story. Many manufactures this year were showing Red List free products; however, Mohawk provided the more thorough take citing several red lists (not just a single red list). – New fiber cross-section is unique and industry advancement.

Great presentation with each “specialist” discussing their aspects. I wish a different carpet colorway had been installed. The install photos of the other colors were more striking than the one installed.

Architectural & Decorative Glass for Skyline Design
Linework Glass Collection
Editors’ Choice Award
Juror Comments:
Nice product and flexible. Patterns are a bit specific and standard color palette might age itself. Solid option to have.

The family of patterns is lovely, a nice progression from quiet to active patterning. The real innovation appears to be the ceramic frit printing for exterior use, and the ability to produce laminated glass.

Furniture Collections for Collaboration
Steelcase for Mackinac
Innovation Award
Juror Comments:
Work surface, open shelving, thoughtful Microsystems, only support on one side of desk is awesome despite being HA collaboration table with private on other side of wall. Lots of material variety options as standard for all 4 components. Workstation set up can be for an office staff person floor but also affords collaboration; cantilevered leg with 350 lbs weight-bearing- wow!!!! Super versatile family of products, finishes are great.

A great variety of options for collaboration. The cantilever bench was amazing.

The bookcase has a wonderful residential scale and appearance. Line the fabric screen details. Great range of materials. Like how it can be dressy or casual. A huge collection that was very thought out. Loved the cantilevered height-adjustable desk, the details are

The cantilevered height-adjustable table is an smart and innovative improvement. Not only does it  enable a collaborative environment by opening the space below but it also allows for more leg room or space for a mobile ped below the worksurface.

A selection of other award winners are presented here:

Walls: Movable
Gold Award
Juror Comments:
Great price and acoustics! Minimalist aesthetics are nice too.

The slim lines of the Duo wall system are very appealing to the minimal modern designs of the times. The acoustics were remarkable for both the double glazed framed pivot door as well as the double glazed pocket door. The soft closer at the sliding/pocket doors is great and has a smooth movement and is easy to operate. The price point is good – on the lower end of demountable walls in many markets. This is a great product – I look forward to seeing a completed installation.

How do you provide meaningful STC data? Do you provide HPDs?

Bentley’s  The Drawing Room Collection

Carpet: Broadloom

Bentley Mills for The Drawing Room Collection
Silver Award
Juror Comments:

Love Dust Jacket and Do Eared. Great colorways. Love the yarn luminosity. Lovely bold patterns that appear to have deep texture and complexity, while maintaining low face weight and level face . . . presented well. Color ways are perfect for design intent.

I would specify. Nice quality, intricately woven pattern can be used as area rug inset. Currently Woven loop A plus for durability . Good price point. Rustic colorways seem to be on trend. Did not have full size sample of broadloom we were judging on display. Lighting was poor. Meets severe standards. All loop…. not cut pile. Provides crossover to hospitality. Seemed OK but couldn’t really get a feel for it.

Appreciate that they always offer their products in Broadloom and tile. Flexible color lines across new and old releases. All available now, will officially launch Sept 1. Nice color range for accents

Surfacing Materials & Finishes
Crossville, Inc. for
Silver Award
Juror Comments:
Cute pattern but limited colors.
Love this product! So beautiful – can’t wait to use it

Gold in Seating: Sofas & Lounge
Davis Furniture Industries
Ginkgo Ply Lounge
Juror Comments:
Wonderful classic look — very comfortable, nice firm sit — good height on ottoman when sitting, ottoman a must -nice price point at $2,426 list

Would like to see more detailed environmental info. Very thoughtful design details (plywood shell, recline of back, comfort of cushion, etc). Very comfortable. Great price. Nice addition to the Ginkgo family! Good presentation (although would be nice to meet Jehs+Laub!)

Silver in Seating: Stacking
Groupe Lacasse for IO by United Chair
Juror Comments:
Very nice design, sits well. Back bend is at the right place, not too short, not deep.

For stacking, light and easy to maneuver.

This is a handsome and sturdy chair. I would specify this product. It is comfortable.

Jabbrrbox’s  JabbrrX

Gold in Workplace Technologies
Jabbrrbox for
Juror Comments:
Very skeptical on this at first but after seeing it, it won me over. Innovative – like that this is leased. I see a market for this.

Very innovative and comprehensive solution for public areas. Like the lease/payment method by the minute/hour. Serves a very specific and relevant need. Thoughtfully designed to integrate Wi-Fi, lighting control, and a little bit of fun with the photo booth.

Have you considered a ‘we work’ model where companies would pay a monthly subscription for their employees to use? Rather than paying each time. Like the way you’re already evolving the product with the on-demand or in-advance booking on a mobile app. Really impressive product! Like the passion of the CEO and presenters.

Gold in Seating: Benches
Keilhauer for 141
Juror Comments:
Great thoughtful solution to collaborative desire. Well crafted.

I love this product and will look for an opportunity to specify it. The 141 degree angle is so intuitive, much nicer than an arc or circle for interaction. The detailing and upholstery is elegant. The privacy screen is good and sturdy. Mr. Keilhauer used the term “soft contract” and I will adopt it to describe current trends.

KI’s Tattoo

Gold in Furniture Systems & Enhancements
KI  for Tattoo
Juror Comments:
The presentation was key to the juror’s response. We really liked the product, its flexibility, and the expressions available. The product hits a spot that is as-yet ineffectively filled and does it well. Many clients in the office environment need a hackable solution, and Tattoo is a fantastic response. Great innovation! Awesome product!

Personal. Not Dilbert. Nice and thin. Easy to program. Software to slide magnets around would be cool tool. Starts homogeneous and then grows and evolves.

Very excited about this collection’s potential to influence how we use the open office.


Silver in Walls: Movable
Maars Living Walls for AXES
Juror Comments:
Self close is nice and so is pivot mechanism. Nice to have an acoustic solution.

Try to come up with a solution to stop the end panel from slamming into the wall 250-300 union/lf

Great solid architectural looking solution, would like to see acoustic solutions in terms of reverb inside room not just STC.

Silver in Carpet: Modular
Patcraft for Dichroic
Juror Comments:
Multi-layer product, available in facet and square, PET, performance, mid-$20’s, very cool pattern flexibility with facet, spot cleaning, hot water extraction, 35% recycled, end of life guarantee, nice color tones produced by layering, September availability, good for corporate, retail, higher ed, nice blending of colors, INNOVATIVE.

Love the gradation of the product. Colors could work in corporate. Interesting options with product with shapes. Designers will love.

Felt for the floor. High performance. Very nice product. Look into the WELL attributes, less dust due to low pile height. Might be a good selling point for allergenic people. PET material. Mid 20s range. 35% Recycled content – face


Silver in Space Dividers/Partitions/Screens
Spacesaver Corp. for Day-Use Lockers
Juror Comments:
Reimagining workplace with storage — multifunctional, building block to create a collaboration space. Showroom installation not great, images are much better.

Interesting options and can be used with lockers or not. Lockers are a little clunky.

Original and creative concept to allow for flexibility in collaborative work zones.

Applications for this product was very interesting and innovative. Application seems specific to certain types of projects but is still flexible and relevant. Found this to be very informative.

Gold in Carpet: Modular
Shaw Contract for Haven
Juror Comments:
Bring home into office, nice, soft tones watercolor-ish, very cozy and soft textures, high performance, organic feel overall, 9 x 36, low $20’s-$30, easy to mix and match various styles, good colorways, 100 cradle to cradle, ecoworks backing- reuse. A great variety of line for all uses.

Nice textural patterns. Has a lot of depth. Nice colors soft and rich Copying Interface Six products Homey soft – residential style 9 x 36” In the 30s 100% Cradle to Cradle. Elegant carpet collection that uniquely inspires the warmth and softness of the home into the commercial setting. Beautiful neutral color ways with soft, muted accent colors.

The line provides a nice variety of scales, textures, pile heights/plushness and price points appropriate for different settings within the commercial environment.

Use of similar neutral colors in all the colors ways is a great feature of this line. Accent colors are great. Would be great if the price point was a little more affordable.

Tarkett/Johnsonite Pentagonals

Gold in Flooring: Hard-Surface
Juror Comments:

LOVE the endless design flexibility of the shapes, and in rubber, rather than vinyl. Excited to use this product and really appreciate the extra pro hours help desk for this product. Winner for a reason.

Hyper personalization of product and great design support from manufacture for the modular designs. great idea behind the fractal nature of biophillic design. Product may be hard to sample – but like the idea and the flexibility of the product. Also like that this opens rubber up to many other markets outside of healthcare. Also love how many color options there will be for this product.

Refreshing to see an design forward advancement in rubber flooring – Nice to see unique shapes – hexagons have been done to death – Endless design possibilities make it usable and give the product longevity – Excellent sustainability story that products can be reclaimed and recycled at the end of their life.

Fantastic new option in rubber! Very useful design support options as well. Great unique introduction! Worried about installers doing a good job with the product designer may need to supervise. Fun to play with shapes.