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Last month, Krystal Gantz Fensky and Kayla Smith, two ACI Boland interior designers, attended NeoCon in Chicago. The event has served as the world’s leading platform for commercial interior design since 1964. While there, they scoured the tradeshow floor to find the most innovative, new solutions for their clients.

“Attending NeoCon provides our team with the opportunity to find the best solutions for our clients, strengthening the functionality and appearance of our designs. We get to meet with hundreds of vendors in one place, learning more about their product lines and finding out what’s newly developed,” said Krystal Gantz Fensky.

Together, Krystal and Kayla identified five key trends that came up the most frequently. Many of these ideas have been gaining traction for several years, while others are new.

“Over the course of our trip, we identified five trends that we saw in most of the showrooms. While some of these ideas have already made their way into our firm’s designs, we look forward to continuing to evolve these concepts to better serve clients in all our studios.”

1. Biophilic Design: Color palettes inspired by nature were found in new products throughout NeoCon. While there, they also continued to spot the incorporation of real or faux plants and planters. Bursts of greenery connect individuals to nature, so it’s no surprise that this trend is still gaining traction.

2. Sustainability: They were excited to see how manufacturers are focusing on the process of creating their materials, as well as post-consumer use. Krystal said, “Products are starting to be made with plant-based materials, which creates less carbon emissions. Recycled materials are also being used in the makeup of products.” Kayla added, “Textiles are now being made with naturally occurring, thermos-reactive minerals, to convert body heat into useable energy. It’s great to see how vendors are rethinking traditional materials to help businesses reach their sustainability goals.”

3. Spatial Flexibility: Organizations are continuing to reevaluate and analyze how they use their spaces post-pandemic. Providing flexibility through furniture and wall systems allows end users to quickly adapt their space to meet their changing needs. Krystal and Kayla anticipate that we’ll continue to see greater ingenuity and changes to workplace design as time goes on.

4. Acoustical Products: Acoustic products are continuing to evolve, marrying form and function in new, effective ways. Wall panels, ceiling baffles, or acoustic furniture dividers were utilized and displayed throughout the space. Using a variety of solutions helps to balance out spaces that have hard surfaces with sound absorbing materials.

5. Rounded Forms: Furniture manufacturers focused on incorporating rounded edges and soft curves that form to your body. These shapes create a relaxed and inviting environment for users.

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