Mobs of people crammed into The Merchandise Mart in Chicago this past week for Neocon — the largest commercial furniture and furnishings exhibition in North America.
Showrooms were packed, educational sessions sold out, elevator lines were long, and everyone was looking for a place to sit down.
Which was good, because there was a lot of seating at Neocon this year. Especially healthcare seating.
Practically every major player in healthcare furniture was showing some type of seating — mostly guest and lounge seating. Given the current emphasis on ambulatory and clinic care where waiting is part of the patient experience, this isn’t surprising.
Flexibility and modularity are common design features of many of these seating collections, with table add-ons and ports for charging computers and mobile devices. Saw a lot of Corian arm caps, too.
The Winners Are…
Seating was prominent in the Best of Neocon product design competition as well. Gold Awards in the Healthcare Guest & Lounge Seating category went to Herman Miller/Nemschoff for its Palisade Collection and Steelcase for its Embold Collection.
Other healthcare awards went to:
Designtex, for Designtex Surroundings textile collection (gold)
Knoll, for Between the Lines textile collection (gold)
Mohawk, for Healthy Environments flooring (innovation)
Tarkett, for Garden Walk flooring (gold)
I also saw some interesting new healthcare seating products at Integra and Wieland. SitOnIt/Ideon introduced two new geometric seating solutions that could have some fun applications in healthcare.
And of course, I didn’t see everything there was to see. There’s just too dang much.
Other Trends at Neocon
Biophilic design continues to be a hot trend — in colors, patterns, shapes, as well as integrating plants into furniture and showroom design. Plants were everywhere at Neocon.
Healthy workplaces are also what everyone is talking about. I saw many standing desks to promote activity, some even with monitoring devices for extra incentive.
Also really liked Humanscale’s QuickStand Eco portable sit/stand solution for desks. Definitely has applications for healthcare.
This column originally ran on Sara Marberry’s blog on June 15, 2018. Marberry is a healthcare design expert who has written/edited five books and is a regular contributor to Healthcare Design magazine. Marberry also is a former Executive Vice President of the nonprofit Center for Health Design.