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Oct. 4-6: NeoCon 2021 education tracks include Wellness, Sustainability, Healthcare, Design skills

NeoCon 2021, themed Design Anew, will be held October 4-6 at theMART in Chicago, featuring a lineup of onsite and virtual educational presentations that will explore topics within the evolving sectors of workplace, healthcare, hospitality, education and more.

Attendees, exhibitors, and staff of the 2021 show must provide proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Learn more here.

Education tracks include Workplace; Wellness; Sustainability; and Healthcare; as well as Design Skills 1, which explores experiential graphic design, color, lighting, acoustics and concept development; and Design Skills 2, which focuses on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), equity, industry standards, IPD (integrated Project Delivery), and research tools.

CEU sessions can be accessed when they run live online, or can be viewed at any time on demand (for accreditation) Oct. 8 through Nov. 6. CEU program tracks are $125/track or $100/track when more than one track is purchased. Advance registration is required.

Some session highlights include:

Monday, October 4

  • CEU Sustainability Track: So a Designer and an Activist Walk Into a Bar…
    Verda Alexander, Studio O+A and Jon Strassner, LEED AP, ASID, 12 p.m. CDT

    Join Verda Alexander and Jon Strassner for a special narrative compiled of over 30  episodes of their podcast, “Break Some Dishes.” Going back through their very special curation of conversations and interviews, Verda and Jon share a story focused on bringing Green Science innovations and inspirations to the interior design industry. Designers can and should act now to make changes to how they specify product and materials. 
  • CEU Design Skills 1 Track: Discovering Nature’s Crossover Colors: Updated Trends in Classics. Leatrice Eiseman, Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training, 3 p.m. CDT
    The question about color that often arises is: “How do color trends impact the lifespan of a product, a setting, interiors and exteriors? How do you select the long-lived colors?  What hues are considered timeless? The answer is that there are classic colors included in a group of hues called ‘crossovers.’” They are the colors that appear so frequently in natural settings that the human eye becomes accustomed to seeing them in many applications and contexts. They are considered classics, basics and staples, and, as such, they enjoy a long shelf life and greater longevity. This illustrated talk will give a “macro view” of how the classics and crossovers can help in the selection, application, marketing, design and presentation of color.

Tuesday, October 5

  • CEU Workplace Track: Solving The Right Problem: Strategies for a Re-imagined Future of Work. Arnold Levin, Gensler, 1:30 pm CDT
    The pandemic has created new paradigms for a reimagined normal that puts into question the successes of the old normal while at the same time creating two camps of thinking about the future of the workplace. Strategies are being explored that reimagine the future. This presentation will look at how these strategies should not be viewed purely as a response to conditions created by the pandemic but as opportunities to reinvent perspectives around work and place and to question many of the assumptions that have driven workplace strategies pre-pandemic. Levin will look at those elements of the old normal that design solutions arising from a pandemic and post-pandemic perspective have proven to be ill-conceived and what opportunities exist now to create a new vision driven by redefining an organization’s definition of both work and place. More importantly he will explore if our polarized discourse around the post-pandemic workplace is really solving the right problem.

Wednesday, October 6

  • CEU Wellness Track: Fractal Vision: A Stress-Reductive Approach to the Built Environment. Anastasija Lesjak, INNOCAD / 13&9 Design; Richard Taylor, University of Oregon; Jackie Dettmar, AIA, IIDA, Mohawk Group, 9 a.m. CDT
    From decreasing stress to improving physical health, nature has a significant influence on well-being. Design can be a tool to solve the challenges of an increasingly digitized society and help end users find balance between nature and built environments, especially commercial spaces. Fractals are intricate patterns that occur naturally throughout our surroundings, from clouds and trees to blood vessels and neurons. Research has shown that stress levels can reduce by as much as 60% when an occupant of these spaces experiences and views mid-complexity fractal patterns. Their harmonic repetition triggers a natural relaxation effect. Attendees of this presentation will explore this approach to design by using fractal concepts, and learn how to integrate finishes and overall structures based on stress-reductive patterning using real-world examples.
  • CEU Healthcare Track: ​​International Healthcare Planning and Design in the Age of Infectious Disease. Mark Banholzer, AIA, NCARB, LEED, HOK; Heather Fenniman, HOK; and Will McConnell, AIA, LEED, HOK. 10:30 a.m. CDT
    The United States has a National Pandemic Strategy and an implementation plan centered on three pillars: preparedness/communication; surveillance/detection; and response/containment. While most of these plans are concentrated on protocols/procedures that hospital staff and administration follow, few US hospitals are designed with flexibility allowing immediate physical change to enhance infection control during pandemic outbreaks. This presentation demonstrates planning and design strategies of 3 international facilities from Canada, the UK and Southeast Asia. The lessons learned during the SARS outbreak in 2002 results in a unique approach to hospital design. These facilities have features designed to contain airborne infections, including instantaneous flexing from normal operation to pandemic treatment mode through spatial and mechanical system changes. This understanding is vital with the current Covid-19 global pandemic and future new infectious diseases.

NeoCon is open to the design trade, facilities managers, C-Suite executives, and other industry-related professionals.

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