We always look forward to a trip to the States, and Neocon brings a great opportunity to understand where the furniture design market is at in the US. Like many we weren't quite sure what to expect this year, and given Clerkenwell Design Week and Milian Furniture Fair had both been back to back, we weren't sure how many from Europe would also attend Neocon, hot on these significant European design shows heels.
Well this year, it was very well attended with the trains and hallways packed to bursting. The thermometer was also bursting, with a tornado warning earlier in the week to keep everyone on their toes!
There was a marked difference in the event locations!
Some of the big hitters had moved away from The Merchandise Mart and up to Fulton Market (an area of town we were warned about visiting some years ago).
Now, this may have reduced to size of the perpetual queue for the elevator at the Mart - headed to the 10th and 11th floors - which for the visitor, can't be bad but will have an impact on those smaller vendors who love that footfall that they can't quite command.
This year, as expected, there was a real focus on hybrid working and many manufacturers crossing over between seating, storage and desking. This led to many designs becoming homogenised with multiple vendors colliding in the same spaces. There were still some gaps clearly identified though and some integrations not quite as evolved as we may have thought. What this leads us to? Well watch this space, as we've already struck ground on projects with clients where we can provide some strategic guidance.
Another event that has brought us just a little bit closer to the old norm, with some new norms attached.