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“Design Takes Shape” at NeoCon, where the office is front and center . . .

Addressing the many changes in the workplace, commercial interiors event NeoCon is presenting keynotes and educational sessions that recognize the dilemmas of interior designers and facility managers as they figure out who is using the space for what type of work for how many days a week and what that space should look like. During NeoCon 2024, June 10-12 at THE MART in Chicago, over 40,000 people will gather to explore new commercial furniture and furnishings solutions and listen to the following sessions at the NeoCon Presentation Studio.

Like many cities across the U.S., occupancy in the downtown Chicago offices is hovering at just over 55%. Hybrid models of work—with employees working from home part time and at an office part time—seem to be here to stay. They also present challenges in designing offices. Come hear from designers, executives in the trenches and leasing agents who have a bird’s-eye view into making (or remaking) spaces that reflect the nature of work today. Find out what has worked—and what hasn’t—in encouraging employees to come back to the office. (Hint: It’s more complicated than installing a ping-pong table.)

Monday June 10, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. CDT. Offices for the New Work Reality. The speakers are Eva Greene, Director of Client Experience, Cresset Capital; Kate Davis, Global Practice Director, Commercial Interiors; Sarah Silva, Vice President, Tenant Representation, JLL; Jason Hall, Creative Director, Charlie Green Studio; and Paul Tokarz, Partner, WestPoint Financial Group, moderated by Jan Parr, Contributor, Crain’s Chicago Business.

How is experiential design changing the face of design at large, and how will experience intersect and empower the future of design and designers? The International Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) once-a-year live episode of its Collective Design series brings the industry top minds in design who approach experiential design through a variety of lenses, from neuroscience to hospitality to future forecasting — all in a thought-provoking, deep dive exploration of a topic that will shape designers and their lives. This roll-up-your-sleeves companion program to IIDA’s keynote will provide the ideas you need to embrace what’s next for design and your business.

Monday, June 10, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. IIDA Design Collective LIVE: The Future of Experience will be presented by speakers Lauren Rottet, FIIDA, President and Founding Principal, Rottet Studios; Upali Nanda, Global Practice Director, Research, and Partner, HKS; Brian Graham, IIDA, Founder and Creative Director, Graham Design; and Lori Mukoyama, IIDA, Global Leader of Hospitality and Principal, Gensler, with moderation by Mark Bryan, Senior Foresight Manager at Future Today Institute.

Monday, June 10, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. CDT. The last few years have tested the limits of our cities and built environments across the globe, leaving people and their communities with an urgent need for a return to vibrancy and experiences they can enjoy and remember together. Leveraging the Power of Storytelling in Commercial Design will be presented by Bob Weis, Global Entertainment Leader, Gensler. Storytelling in design has become a top priority for clients and their stakeholders, as well as our own aspirations as creators.

In his more than thirty years at Walt Disney Imagineering, Weis created story-driven experiences in every Disney property around the world. In his keynote, Weis will share insights and visuals to demonstrate how the new global Gensler Entertainment practice is bringing storytelling to the forefront and strategy of new projects, engaging clients to think differently about how stories and experiences form valuable anchors in successful projects. His talk will demonstrate how creatives can use this magical tool to bring vibrancy to everyday places and spaces.

Best of NeoCon jurors reviewing products last year.

Tuesday, June 11, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. Progressing from making public statements to enacting practical equity programs is essential in creating a more diverse environment. Novità Senior Vice President Joseph Cephas leads a panel of design leaders during Diversity in Practice as they explore strategies that go beyond the rhetoric to make firms and the projects they produce more inclusive. With a focus on creating tangible, measurable results, the discussion will examine how diversity initiatives can lead to positive change. The speakers are Jason Pugh, AIA, AICP, NOMA, LEED AP, Global Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Design Manager, Principal, Gensler; and Ronnie Belizaire, FIIDA, 2023-24 President, IIDA, and an project executive renowned for her work with various companies, including several Fortune 500 corporations, where she has played a pivotal role in transforming organizations through design. Her expertise spans architecture, interior design, branded environments, master planning, real estate development, diversity and inclusion, ESG, capital planning, and client relationships. 

Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. CDT. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) has catalogued the latest ways we live, work, play, learn and heal. Join us for a discussion of the latest trends impacting interior design during ASID 2024 Trends Outlook. Hear from Khoi Vo, ASID CEO and leading industry designers, as they discuss the impact of these current trends on commercial design – the hybrid workplace and the desire to encourage connection, cross-specialty and the interconnectedness of sustainability and wellness, adaptive re-use and the repositioning of older buildings, and new strategies in digital marketing given AI algorithms.

The speakers are Margi Kaminski, Principal, Director of Health Interiors, CannonDesign; Julia Calabrese, Associate Director of Strategy & Design, IA Interior Architects; Leah Bauer, Global Director of Design and Sustainability, Workday; S. Dawn Haynie, Ph.D., Research Fellow, ASID, moderated by Khoi Vo, CEO, ASID.

Tuesday, June 11, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. CDT. Textile and furniture trend-setters will focus on textiles’ influential role in furniture product design and performance during BIFMA + ACT | Fits Like a Glove: The Perfect Pairing of Textiles and Furniture. Experts Shantel McGowan, VP of Design, Textiles, Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering; Andrea Nelson, Principal Designer | Colors, Materials & Finishes, Industrial Design Studio, Haworth; and Maggie Keilhauer, Marketing Manager, Keilhauer, with moderation by Deborah Nemeth, Principal, Interior Design Discipline Leader, SmithGroup, will explore textiles’ influential role in furniture product design and performance. Topics will include textile design inspiration; innovations in materials, technology, and sustainability; application considerations and challenges; and incorporating client expectations into the development process.

More information at this link to Keynotes & Featured Presentations during NeoCon.

NeoCon is the leading platform for commercial space design, as show management announces a power-list of thought-provoking speakers, dynamic activations, best-in-class brands, and the newest movers and shakers impacting the built environment. The three-day event offers unparalleled opportunities to connect, learn, and experience the latest trends and innovations across verticals, from office to healthcare. Show registration is free for all attendees. To register, head here. Programming registration for keynotes, featured presentations, CEU seminars, and workshops will open on April 3, 2024. For showroom, exhibitor, and general NeoCon news, images, and real-time information, follow NeoCon on: Facebook  (@NeoConShows), Twitter (@NeoCon_Shows), Instagram (@NeoCon_Shows), and LinkedIn (@NeoCon-Shows).