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Business journalists and FMs choose the Business Impact Awards to guide FMs to products that support new workplaces and the bottom line

by Eileen McMorrow

Winners of the Best of NeoCon 2024 Business Impact Awards (BIA) were evaluated based on the degree to which they contribute to business operations and enterprise-oriented built environments across verticals: traditional workplaces, alternative workplaces, office-campus environments and healthcare settings.

Criteria include: aesthetics, adaptability, social responsibility, sustainability, technology integration, how the product supports or improves employee productivity, well-being or neurodiversity; and impact on a business’ bottom line. A selection of Best of NeoCon Jurors screened all Business Impact Awards applicants to determine the finalists for review. The Business Impact jurors were Mark Wilson, Global Design Editor, Fast Company; Zach Mortice, Freelance, Bloomberg CityLab, Metropolis; Athalia Monae, Freelance, Entrepreneur, Authority; Julia Brenner, Freelance, Forbes; Ian Volner, Freelance, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal; Nia Springer-Norris, Freelance, Success; Stephanie Peters, Director, Workplace Solutions, Walgreens; and Fabian Perez, Associate Designer, NetJets.

Here are 5 of the 10 winners, with jurors’ comments. Watch this page for more winners in August.

4SPACE Fronts architectural solution

Haworth introduced an architectural solution that enables space division, modern expression, proven environmental benefits and acoustic privacy with 4SPACE Fronts, featuring minimal aesthetics that frame space, rather than distract from the design of the broader area. 4SPACE Fronts’ integrated collection of frames, doors and hardware efficiently builds both private and collaborative spaces. Portions can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of useful solutions for every project.

4SPACE Fronts is not just about the features and benefits-it really includes the whole package – product, process and predictability. This architectural interior solution is about reducing the downtime from installation as well as a cos- effective product that includes a well-designed solution. 4SPACE Fronts keeps work moving with 20-day or less delivery, cost predictability and a nationwide partner network that ensures product quality.

4SPACE Fronts shines in areas where spaces need to be added, such as conference rooms, training rooms, private offices or touch down spaces. This solution will be especially welcome in the healthcare and education sectors.

We really liked the hardware and the curved glass options. The innovation is in the installation, which is great. Aesthetically, it’s on par with others in the market. Would like to also see a double pane system. It’s a beautiful sleek design with functional focus on acoustics that makes this product a true innovation. The curved glass is stunning.

The Edison Workbench from Watson Furniture Group solves the problem of shifting office density and work requirements, giving customers the flexibility to easily build onto a run of workstations seamlessly. The Benching or workbenches can attach to one another or stand alone; reconfiguring office layouts couldn’t be easier. With thoughtful details and a range of optional accessories, a user’s workspace can be configured to include ambient lighting, beam or desk mounted screens with additional tools for increased organization.

Edison Workbench with height-adjustable components

Height adjustability allows a range of users to find the height and posture that they prefer. The three-stage lifting columns go from 23” to 49”. The beam of the workbench functions as cable management for power and data. It provides access to power receptacles and is the mounting point for optional accessories. Screens can be mounted to the beam or surface of the workbench and come in multiple finishes including fabric and markerboard. Extension Connectors allow for storage to be integrated into the run, continuing the themes of space efficiency and the functionality-first approach to the development.

Edison Workbench received Silver and Sustainability Awards in addition to Business Impact.

I really liked the raw plywood edge and clean height-adjustable base. Also loved the planter and task light integration into the spine. I especially like unfinished metal, different finish options and cost effectiveness.

Every workplace needs café tables; Mantra offers an exceptional choice. See Unity Collection from Mantra Inspired Furniture wins Best of NeoCon Silver, Sustainability & Business Impact Awards.

Let’s not overlook the walls. Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering introduced its wall treatment, Circon, a bio-sourced, carbon-neutral Type II wallcovering collection in partnership with Versa Designed Surfaces. Its rapid renewable technology dramatically reduces its carbon footprint; its price, performance and aesthetic are comparable to traditional vinyl. Fully recyclable, with a reclamation program, Circon is a sustainable and price-attainable wallcovering solution.

Circon fully recycled wallcovering

Key components include 100% renewable wood-based feedstock sourced from sustainable forestry, an algae-like base material that sequesters carbon during its formation, and a proprietary bio-based cotton backing that is 100% renewable and actively sequesters carbon during its growth. In essence, Circon not only minimizes its environmental impact but also strives to offset it.

Circon’s four debut designs — Zari, Miro, Miro Texture, and Loma — celebrate nature’s beauty and the sense of renewal that comes with new beginnings. The collection sets a new standard in wallcovering technology, providing a sustainable, stylish and high-performance solution for various environments, including workplaces, hospitality venues, educational institutions and healthcare facilities. Beyond the four primary patterns, businesses can tailor environments to particular needs by specifying designs created in collaboration with Versa Design Surfaces or custom wallcovering designs produced by Momentum.

Innovative. First of its kind. A great solution that is more responsible and sustainable than vinyl wall coverings. I love that it is fully recyclable and can be used as the substrate for digital printing.  It is a more environmentally sustainable substrate that is now available and comes in really usable colorways. It is also a really great offering as you can get any Momentum pattern on Circon’s substrate. The textures are lovely as well.

Silen OÜ was awarded for its work pod, Silen Space 1.5, bringing sustainable focus and productivity. This office pod is a 100% CarbonNeutral®-certified solo work haven constructed with SEAQUAL® YARN fabric woven from reclaimed marine plastic. The Space 1.5 contributes to a cleaner planet while offering a 20+ year lifespan due to its prefabricated modular design and high-quality sustainable materials. Repairs and upgrades are simplified, ensuring longevity without technological obsolescence. Its key impacts are:

Silen Space 1.5 workpod
  1. Two-way noise reduction, ensuring privacy both inside and out.
  2. Ergonomic setup with custom furniture or space for users’ own ergonomic chairs.
  3. Indoor Advantage Gold air quality, delivering at least twice the recommended airflow.
  4. Designed for the era of micro-offices, allowing users to escape for a phone call or an entire day.
  5. Offers a holistic impact on workspace well-being through its eco-friendly, long-lasting, easily customizable, and transportable design.
  6. Wide color customization options to fit seamlessly in any workspace, delivering the needed calm and cohesive integration.

Smooth-rolling wheels enable effortless relocation, and the innovative Silen Dynamics customization option keeps the pod aesthetically relevant. By prioritizing sustainable sourcing, minimizing waste, and embracing a circular economy, the Space 1.5 sets a new standard for micro-offices. The result? Ergonomic comfort, unwavering focus, and extended work sessions — perfect for long-term solo work — all while treading lightly on Earth.

The one-week lead time is incredible. Simple and beautiful. Auto lights and ventilation are good. There’s some ear pressure when inside the pod. I like the occupancy sensor and interior furniture options. I like that the finishes can be changed, but not sure how often a client will during the lifespan of them using a work pod unless they move once within their lease.

Click to see all the Best of NeoCon 2024 Award winners, including the Business Impact Award winners (select category).