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Adobe’s workplace; holistic buildings; neurodiversity and inclusion; and carbon in buildings among NeoCon education sessions

In addition to daily on-site keynotes and special programs, NeoCon, which will take place June 13-15, 2022, will offer 47 virtual CEU-accredited programs from an impressive roster of leading industry experts from a wide cross-section of fields. The sessions will span eight program tracks: Workplace, Healthcare, Education, Facilities, Wellness, Sustainability, Design Skills, and Industry Direction and delve into the topics that are making an impact on the design industry both now and in the future.

“From examining how to make spaces more accessible to implementing biophilic design practices and exploring how NFTs and the metaverse will shape the future of design, we curated our 2022 CEU lineup to center around themes that are rapidly growing in importance for our industry,” comments Allison Kearns, director of programming for NeoCon. “The eight tracks are intended to offer a much-needed opportunity to learn and conceptualize how we will continue to build a more sustainable, innovative, and effective future as a community.”

NeoCon CEU programming registrants can watch each session when it runs live or anytime on-demand (for accreditation) through July 15. Registration is open. Below are presentation highlights from each of the CEU program tracks:


Changing the World Through Workplace Experiences: An Adobe Story about Experimentation

June 13, 20, 8:30am CDT. Adobe and Gensler partnered on experimentation related to the environment, technology, ways of working and community and wellbeing. Here they will share their findings and methods that help inform the Future of Workplace Experience at Adobe. One of the core tenants is experimentation methodology, cross-functional teaming, better understanding team performance, and understanding cohesive findings across the organization that will inform the future. The speakers are:

  • Noelle Borda, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED AP, Senior Program Manager, Workplace Design, Adobe & Eric Kline, Director, Workplace Experience, Adobe
  • Natalie Engels, IIDA, LEED AP, Principal, Global Work Sector Leader, Design Director, Gensler & Katie Kaiser CIDQ LEEP AP, Senior Associate, Studio Director, Gensler .

How Minds and Designs Work Together: Then, Now, and Tomorrow

June 14, 2022, 11:30am CDT. Human brains and core motivations evolve very, very slowly. Workers are bringing the same sorts of sensory apparatus, ways of processing information, and goals to work today, as they have for decades—and will for decades to come. Space users want to do their jobs well, to have some control over their work lives, and to socialize. Understanding these consistencies is crucial for developing workplaces in which people are able to perform to their full potential and don’t simply work. Workplace design principles introduced by Michael Brill at BOSTI remain as relevant now as at his death 20 years ago.


Martin Lesjak, INNOCAD architecture and 13&9 Design

Holistic Buildings: Translating Biophilic Design Strategies into the Built Environment

June 13, 2022, 11:30am CDT. A holistic approach to architecture and biophilic design strategies represent a central topic in INNOCAD and 13&9 Design’s work referring to the importance of collaborating with scientists such as Prof. Richard Taylor and his team form the University of Oregon, that transfer scientific findings into the built environment. The benefits of such transdisciplinary processes will be discussed with Prof. Taylor and their implementation are exemplified by recently completed and future projects, which unify years of research and analysis with experts in the field of biophilic and workplace design as well as office architecture. This results in human-centered and highly sustainable solutions on a social, environmental, and economic level.

Speakers: Martin Lesjak, Co-Founder and Design Director, INNOCAD architecture and 13&9 Design; Richard Taylor, Professor of Physics, Psychology and Art, University of Oregon.

The New Inclusivity: Neurodiversity and Workplace Inclusion

June 15, 2022, 11:30am CDT. We are living in a time of increased numbers and awareness about individuals with neuro-sensitives and special needs, such as ADHD. In fact, 1 in 7 people are considered neurodiverse but fewer than 50% know it. But these individuals can be high energy, out of the box thinkers, excel in a crisis, and be bold problem solvers. Not only is designing to be inclusive the right thing to do, there is a compelling business case for it as well. Sargent will share the various aspects of neurodiversity and explore how to create spaces that are more physically and culturally inclusive for people with a wide spectrum of neurological conditions to allow them to thrive. Speaker: Kay Sargent, FASID, FIIDA, CID, LEED® AP, MCR. w, WELL AP, Director of WorkPlace, HOK


A Designer and an Activist Have Found Their Place at the Bar- We’re Breaking Dishes and Making Some Noise!

Verda Alexander and Jon Strassner, founders of the podcast, Break Some Dishes

June 14, 2022, 8:30am CDT. With over 40 episodes and 2 years of conversations with everyone from chemists to engineers to adventurers, Verda Alexander and Jon Strassner, founders of the podcast, Break Some Dishes, have created a running narrative that has peeled many of the layers from the climate change conversation. Climate change is a textile woven from many different cords, representing culture, trend and humanism. This presentation will take listeners through the journey to truly understand climate, health and equity in greater context than we have heard before. Their goal is to educate their audience by sharing their experience and weaving these many conversations into one that will inform and inspire our industry to better understand climate change and our impact on the world.

Speakers: Jon Strassner, LEED AP, Vice President, Industry Partnership, ASID; Verda Alexander, Co-Founder, Studio O+A

The Carbon Question: What Do Interiors Have To Do With It?

June 16, 2022, 11:30am CDT. With global climate change growing in severity and urgency, architects and engineers have been grappling with the embodied carbon of new buildings for years. Because most building foundations and structural systems are such carbon hogs, the impact of an interior fit out for a new building appears as a blip – no need for designers to bother themselves with LCAs or other carbon footprint calculations. Take a deeper look: most of the global building stock already exists, and renovations never stop. New buildings exist for 25 – 50 years. Consider how many interior renovations occur within that lifespan. Interior products, from flooring to furniture, have major impacts on global warming. Take control and lead your clients and facilities to do less harm, starting now!

Speakers: Suzanne Drake, CID, LEED ID+C, WELL AP, Fitwell Ambassador, NCIDQ, Senior Interior Designer, Revel; Frances Yang, SE, LEED AP, WELL AP, Sustainable Materials Specialist, Arup North America Ltd.

Design Skills

Design In the Face of Fear

Gareth Brennan, Eventscape

June 13, 2022, 8:30am CDT. Traditionally, fear is thought of as a liability that limits the probability of success. In the design process, fear can obstruct designers from fulfilling their best visions. However, leaning into one’s fears can lead to experimentation and innovation. This session explores how custom fabrication offers solutions to new world problems by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It will explore common fears designers face when working with a fabrication partner — losing creative control, budget, and the unknown. The speakers will offer insight into how concrete strategies, like collaboration and experimentation, can be used to overcome these fears. When working collaboratively, one idea can flourish beyond what is capable within a single team. This panel will encourage participants to leverage fear as a creative asset rather than a detriment.

Speakers: Gareth Brennan, Founder and President, Eventscape; Krista Ninivaggi, Founder; Principal, K&Co; Woods Bagot; Primo Orpilla, Principal and Founder, Studio O+A.

Illuminating Color: Revealing the Complexities of Color, Science, and Design

June 15, 2022, 8:30am CDT. Color plays a critical role in our perception of the built environment and how we feel about the spaces we inhabit. It affects what we consciously perceive, things we like, and how we feel. It helps us understand how to move through spaces and enhances our experiences. Color has profound impacts on our subconscious, affecting our decision-making and buying habits in ways we may not be fully aware of. Lighting, the mechanism by which we are able to perceive color, plays a pivotal role in how we experience and feel about the colors around us. This seminar will present a study of color, introducing various chromatic philosophies and discussing how color shows up in everything from literature to marketing to the built environment.

Speakers: Katherine Stekr, IALD, MIES, CLD, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate and Darcie Chinnis, PhD, PE, IALD, MIES, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Associate Principal, HLB Lighting Design.

Industry Directions

BIFMA’s Guidance and Best Practices for Specifying Furniture in Commercial Environments in a Pandemic and Beyond

June 13, 2022, 4:00pm CDT. Do you want to avoid throwing your furniture into the landfill? Part of the answer is found in the new ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Surfaces: Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Standard. This panel of experts from BIFMA, design practitioners, and material experts will discuss practical features of this standard and how it applies to commercial spaces and the built environment.

Speakers: Steve Kooy, Director of Health & Sustainability, BIFMA; Adity Phadnis, Lead of Product Compliance, Designtex; and Margi Kaminski, ASID, NCIDQ, Principal, Director Health Interiors, CannonDesign.

Designing the Metaverse: How NFTs will Evolve the Design Landscape

June 14, 2022, 8:30am CDT. More than just trending buzzwords, the metaverse, the blockchain and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) ​have rapidly become the next frontier in the future of—practically everything. From how we view​ art​ and​ design, measure value, ​and ​express ownership,​ ​NFTs​ play a critical role in showcasing and embodying innovation and creativity​ ​in the ever-expanding new virtual world​. Imagine furniture designed without having to consider physical constraints like gravity and ergonomics— possibilities abound in the metaverse, and this program will provide a clear path to unlock the many creative and business opportunities it presents. How can firms approach designing spaces in the metaverse? How can brands leverage the technology of NFTs to protect intellectual property, as well as establish ownership, sales-boosting scarcity, and authenticity? This session will explore the ​changing design landscape, how to establish a leadership position in an emerging space, as well as outline how brands can leverage NFTs, the blockchain and the metaverse to explore exciting new opportunities for authentic design while building new revenue strategies that complement and expand their business and drive customer engagement.

Speakers: Andrew Lane, Co-Founder, digby; John Edelman, Independent Consultant.

For more information, visit NeoCon. For showroom, exhibitor, and general NeoCon news, images, and real-time information, follow NeoCon on: Facebook (@NeoConShows), Twitter (@NeoCon_Shows), and Instagram (@NeoCon_Shows).