The new Formaspace Office commercial interiors division made its worldwide debut at the 2017 NeoCon contract furniture show held in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Attendees had a chance to test drive our new Revolution™ line of desks, benches, and conference tables for the commercial design market, including an industrial multi-functional Ping Pong conference table made from solid African Mahogany — which converts into two independently height-adjustable tables for breakout meetings.

What a show! We’ve just returned from the annual National Exposition of Contract Furnishing show — more commonly known as NeoCon. This year marks the 49th annual NeoCon event, which has been held every year at the venerable art deco Merchandise Mart in Chicago since 1969. This year’s impressive stats included over 1,000,000 sq. ft. of showrooms, 500 leading vendors, and an estimated 54,000 office interior design professionals in attendance.

If you were able to attend NeoCon 2017, we hope you had a chance to see our new Revolution collection of office furniture for the commercial design market in person. Revolution is a coordinated system of mix-and-match components, designed to work together to create a full range of workplace solutions — including individual private workstation areas, flexible and informal touch-down spaces, collaborative open desking and benching environments, employee break rooms and cafeterias, and executive conference rooms kitted out with our unique industrial conference tables.

If you didn’t get a chance to make it to NeoCon this year, we’d like to paint a picture of what you missed out on by identifying five key office design trends we observed at this year’s event.

Let’s get started!

Trend 1: Make the Office a Fun and Healthy Place to Work

Entrepreneur, author, and Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington delivered the opening keynote address at NeoCon 2017 on the crucial role that office interior design professionals play in establishing a healthy life/work balance in the office.

“Those of you who are interior designers, you have such an opportunity to help people live their lives differently,” Huffington said.

She reminded us to avoid the trap of overextension and overwork in our professional lives and emphasized the need to keep moving throughout the day to maintain physical health. The right choice of furniture, such as height-adjustable desks, is an important part of the solution.

Throughout the showrooms at the Mart, there was renewed emphasis on maintaining an active lifestyle at work, making health and wellness the top category of the office design trends we saw at NeoCon.

Revolution Collection Ping Pong / Executive Tables by Formaspace

What could be healthier than a quick game of ping pong at the office? Neocon attendees got a chance to test drive our multi-functional ping pong conference table, made of an exotic African Mahogany. It’s part of Formaspace Office’s new Revolution line of unique commercial office furniture with an industrial look. When needed, the ping-pong table cleverly divides into two independently height-adjustable, stand-up meeting tables that rise up to 56 inches. After folding the perforated steel net beneath the surface to its’ attachment, the two pieces create a seamless standing height conference table. Powered by lithium batteries, the legs can be controlled with any Bluetooth-enabled device.

HOVR Exercise Device

As most of us probably know by now, sitting for long periods of time at your desk isn’t healthy.* The new HOVR exercise device (which mounts underneath a desk or sits on the floor as a standalone device) allows you to get in those important extra steps throughout the workday — without the complications of installing a step machine or treadmill.

*For more information on the health risks of extended sitting, see our article “Is Sitting the New Smoking?”

Herman Miller Live OS Office Furniture

If you want to keep track of the movements of your employees across your enterprise, Herman Miller offers a new Live OS system that integrates height-adjustable desks with smartphone apps. But be careful: subscription prices may not be healthy for your budget, the software for sit-to-stand desks can cost upwards of $60 for each desk, per year.

Genie Copper Mesh chair by Via Seating

It’s critical to avoid unwanted transfer of microbes and germs in healthcare settings, so we were intrigued by this chair by Via Seating which incorporates copper (known for its antimicrobial properties) into the material used for the mesh seat back.

Trend Two: The Year the Industrial Look and Mid-Century Modern Design Got Married

Many of the designers we spoke with at NeoCon were looking to pair the structural ‘bones’ of industrial-styled furniture (such as desking, benching and tables from Formaspace Office) with signature design elements inspired by the Mid-Century Modern designs (such as chairs and textiles) that were on display at the show.

Here are but a few of the many Mid-Century Modern inspired office interior design products we saw:

LilyPad in the Terry Crews Collection for Bernhardt Design

Kudos to the art director for the photos of the new LilyPad seating with built-in tables; it truly looks like the setting of the modernist Stahl House in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills. LilyPad is also noteworthy as a design from none other than actor and former NFL player Terry Crews.

Katachi High Back Lounge Chair by JANUS et Cie

We also liked the Katachi High Back Lounge Chair from JANUS et Cie. The delicately tapered legs suggest mid-century modern, but the woven fabric choices and aggressive cut of the silhouette delivers a fresh take on the traditional wingback chair.

Capri Lounge by Andreu World

The Capri Lounge chair by designer Piergiorgio Cazzaniga for Andreu World is a relaxed take on a timeless shape. But wait… don’t swivel chairs bases require five legs by regulation to avoid tipping accidents?

Focus In Textile Collection by Luum

Aficionados of textiles from the 1950s will welcome the new Focus In collection for its adventurous use of geometric designs made with eye-catching, non-traditional woven materials.

Trend Three: Searching for Quiet in the Workplace

Finding a quiet place to work is the third item in our list of office design trends we observed at NeoCon 2017.

SnapCab Pod

Concerned about office noise? Why not install a game show style isolation booth, such as the SnapCab Pod? It offers instant acoustic privacy.

Seeyond acoustic tiles (cusp pattern) by 3form

3form presented an interesting solution to the problem of high levels of noise in the office. Their line of Seeyond acoustic tiles not only control noise but can be installed quickly and moved around as needed. As a bonus, they create an attractive visual design element in the office environment.

Jabbrrbox One

Ah ha! You may be wondering how the Jabbrrbox One differs from the SnapCab Pod listed above. The answer: Jabbrrbox One has a unique business model! It’s designed for public environments, such as airports, building lobbies, and trade shows. Access to this private space can be purchased on an hourly basis via an online app.

Trend Four: New Ways to Work Smarter with Collaborative Furniture

Our fourth trend from NeoCon 2017 is the rise of modular and multi-function furniture — all designed to help people work together more collaboratively.

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