When you only go to NeoCon one day, it's hard to see everything -- even if your focus is only healthcare. But I was determined to the most of my time at The Mart this past Monday.
I'm not sure how to describe it, but I think there was a "buzz" to NeoCon. People were excited to be there. Showrooms looked fresh. Everyone seemed happy.
Overall, the emphasis was on sustainability, equity in design, and hybrid workspaces.
Exodus to Fulton Market
Lots of people were also talking about the exit of Herman Miller, Knoll, Tarkett, and others from The Mart to the Fulton Market District, which is about a mile away. Unless The Mart can sweeten their lease deals, more may follow.
I didn't make it over to Fulton Market, but several people I spoke with said there's more of a retail vibe to the showrooms that are there.
While I understand why manufacturers might want to move out of The Mart, there's something really nice about having them all under one roof. It's big part of what makes coming to NeoCon in Chicago unique.
Healthcare at NeoCon
The healthcare product manufacturers I spoke with said business was good. Many were showing new products -- mostly seating for waiting areas or clinical spaces.
I learned that Steelcase Health (which has been in a holding pattern the past few years) is teaming up with retail furniture company West Elm to create some workplace furniture for healthcare environments. The products look like they could work in senior living as well.
This may be old news, but it was news to me that Steelcase Health has a deal with ModuForm to rep its line of behavioral health furniture. Maybe the days of Steelcase acquiring companies is over.
I had a "color bath" designed by Ari Peralta of Mycoocoon at the Kimball showroom on Wells Street across from The Mart and checked out the company's Interwoven brand of healthcare furniture. I'm intrigued by the idea of using color therapy software in healthcare spaces and will write more on this in another post.
And There's More
I saw HAT Collective Healthcare's new line of point of care ergonomic solutions for healthcare and met parent company Innovative Ergonomic Solutions's new CEO Steven Bramson, who came from Humanscale. It will be interesting to see where he leads HAT.
Also on my list of not-to-be missed healthcare furniture showrooms at NeoCon: Kwalu, Wieland, and Integra. They never disappoint. I'm still really liking Kwalu's Modena collection which won Best of NeoCon awards last year.
And, I visited Carolina to see its healthcare seating that won Best of NeoCon and HIP awards this year: Ansel and Sorta. Sorta is a funky, ingenious task chair that can be used for healthcare, education, or the workplace.
Other healthcare products that won awards at NeoCon that I didn't get to see were:
- Shaw Contract for Innate resilient flooring
- Designtex for Charley Harper Beguiled in the Wild fabrics
- Interface for Desert Scapes modular flooring
I thought about going back on Tuesday, but had other commitments. I packed a lot into my day and was happy to see many familiar faces in person once again.
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