A lot has been made of NeoCon’s 50th which wrapped up, June 13th in Chicago. As noted in our pre-show coverage, that is a big milestone for one of the key events in our industry. This was a personal milestone for me, as I have been attending for many (too many to count) years and in many different roles. My first exposure was early in my career, attending the show, four young women, sharing a room at the Conrad Hilton. We were overwhelmed by the city, the Mart and being unleashed on our own to explore and experience. As years passed, I continued to attend as a designer, project manager, judge at Best of NeoCon, speaker, end user and this year, as a journalist.
At first, I was a bit perplexed as to how I would write about this, but realized, as I made my way through the crowds, that for the first time, I really had no concrete agenda, I was not looking for any particular item, I did not have to test every task chair, touch every fabric, take every bit of swag, I could just wander and explore and look at everything with a whole new perspective. Here is what I saw:
Wow! This was the busiest I have seen in many years. The good news is that The Mart has done a great job working out the way-finding and managing the elevator traffic. Yes, it still is onerous, you must wait in line, and get very friendly with a select crowd on the way up and down to your destination. I do note that people do seem to take in stride as part of the experience and try and plan around the time it takes to get from point A to point B. I did meet several people who took advantage of the stairs to compensate for not hitting the gym for a few days.
There were many clues as to what changes in workplace design and furnishings would be in store, just by walking through the ground floor product displays.