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10 Things Not to Miss at NeoCon 2019

With more than 500 exhibitors from around the globe, NeoCon 2019(June 10-12) at Chicago’s theMART will present the newest and most innovative products and concepts in the commercial interior design industry, along with educational seminars and exciting events. Here are our picks for 10 things not to miss this year.

1. HiP Awards: Interior Design’s 6th annual HiP Awards ceremony, honoring industry people and innovative products, will take place Sunday, June 9 at 4:30pm at Marshall’s Landing in theMART—with a party to follow. Purchase tickets here.

2. The NeoCon Plaza: This outdoor space inspired by the idea of “The Urban Boardwalk” will debut this year at NeoCon as a new amenity for exhibitors and attendees. Spanning the length of the MART’s South Drive, NeoCon Plaza it’s designed as a collaborative gathering spot offering views of the Chicago River, Riverwalk and the city’s skyline. It will also be the site of product introductions and programming throughout NeoCon.

3. Material Bank Pop-up: Experience the design library of the future within this debut pop-up Material Bank showcase on the 1st floor of theMART. Suite 103.

4. Daily Keynotes: Gain insight into the ever-changing world of design at three keynotes in the NeoCon Theater: “The Familiar and Unusual: An Investigation of Balance and Experience in Design” by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, founders of New York-based Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors (June 10 at 8:00am); “Stuff Matters: The Material World We Make” by Ilse Crawford, creative director and founder of London-based Studioilse (June 11 at 8:00am); and “Do No Harm: The Role of Design in Complicated Times” by Liz Ogbu, founder and principal of New York-based Studio O (June 12 at 11:00am).

5. Living Products Showcase: Tickets ($10, register here) are still available for this Tour of NeoCon’s Healthy and Sustainable Products designed to meet the Living Product Challenge. It will be led by a guide from the International Living Future Institute from 2:30pm-4:00pm on June 11.

6. ID Live: Join Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen as she chats with designers during two sessions of ID Live on the Grand Staricase at theMART. At 1:00pm on June 10, Cindy will be joined by Heather Bush from Carnegie, Erwan Bouroullec from Skyline Design, and Patricia Urquiola from Haworth; at 1:30 her guests will be Don Chadwick from Humanscale, Ed Barber ad Jay Osgerby from Vitra, and Alain Gilles from BuzziSpace; and at 2:00pm, she will chat with Martin Lesjak and Asastaia Su from Mohawk Group, Guilherme Wentz from Sossego, Aliki van der Krujis from Wolf-Gordon, and Sebastian Salvado and Rios Clemente Hale from Janus et Cie. At 1:30pm on June 11, ID Live will feature Mary Holt and Chase Taylor from Carnegie, Nina Etnier and Brad Sherman of Float Studio for Tarkett, David Allan Pesso of JSI, Todd Heiser of Gensler and Byron Morton of theMART; at 2:00pm, Cindy’s guest will be Jessica Ahlerhing and Casey Keasler of Hightower along with several other designers.

7. The 7thFloor Exhibit Hall:  Visit to see new-to-NeoCon exhibitors that include Pedrali from Italy, Cascando from the Netherlands, and Luxxbox from Australia.

8. Interactive Activations: There will be plenty of installations and experiences to enjoy on every floor of theMART—from Herman Miller’s “All Together Now” (Floor 1, South Lobby) to Snowsound Quiet Zones (Floor 7, Pass-Through).

9. A Strong Hospitality Focus: In addition to two keynotes by executives from Roman & Williams and Studioilse—known for stellar hospitality projects around the globe—NeoCon 2019 will feature more than 300 exhibitors showing hospitality-minded products, among them Andreu World, Sossego Design, Arper, Bentley, and Sunbrella Contract.

10. SANDOW Innovation Lab: Stop by the first-ever SANDOW Innovation Lab to experience several compelling, industry-leading events in this multiuse space: lectures, roundtables, and product demonstrations.

> Check out Interior Design’s Annual Guide to NeoCon 2019

Continue reading 10 Things Not to Miss at NeoCon 2019

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Bentley Carries California Dreamin’ Into The 21st Century

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

1979 was a wild year in world history — the Iran Hostage Crisis, Three Mile Island, and the rise Thatcherism all marked the conclusion of the Disco Decade. Over in Los Angeles, the SoCal hardcore punk scene burst into the mainstream. Bands like Black Flag and Bad Religion vehemently decried the inauthenticity of their predecessors, the fashion-conscious Hollywood art punk bands like X and the Go-Go’s, in favor of a new gritty realism that celebrated a pared-down aesthetic and embrace of diverse voices. It was in this artistic, chaotic, and fecund melting pot that Bentley was born.

Photography courtesy of Bentley. 

Eschewing the traditional “carpet capital” (Georgia) for L.A. turned out to be a fortuitous choice for the 40-year-old brand. Today, they are the largest commercial carpet manufacturer in California. They haven’t forgotten their roots though — their products reflect a keen understanding of L.A.’s embrace of both grit and glamour. They also still prize the diversity of voices that call the City of Angels home.

“Looking back over the huge changes we’ve seen between 1979 and now, the one constant has been our Bentley family,” says Jim Harley, president of Bentley. “I truly believe that our people are the reason we’ve been able to maintain the integrity of our name and the loyalty of our customers.”

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

The people who power Bentley have elevated it into a multi-dimensional boutique brand with the stamina to keep pace with the larger mills while retaining the agility to cater to the evolving expectations of customers. Following on the 1982 success of Kings Road, the brand’s debut top-selling product, the company continues to deliver double-digit growth. This growth is bolstered by Bentley’s burgeoning portfolio of products, which includes broadloom, carpet tile, LVT, and modulyss flatweave.

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

“I’ve seen many brands come and go over the years,” says Richard French, Bentley’s vice president of global sales and marketing. “I’ve also seen them survive, only to lose sight of their identity as well as the attributes that made them specifiable. The fact that Bentley has been able to hold strong to our core and yet still be flexible enough to evolve with market demands is a testament to how solid our foundation truly is.”

Looking into the future, Bentley has turned their eyes to innovation, particularly with regard to sustainability. They’ve already set a good precedent — the brand has been monitoring greenhouse gases since 1994 and was the first carpet manufacturer to earn LEED-EBOM Silver and LEED-EBOM Gold accreditation. Today they are investing in sustainable energy sources, challenging other manufactures to match their Cradle-to-Cradle accomplishments, and diverting more waste away from North American landfills.

Photography courtesy of Bentley.

Not so bad for a solid middle-ager in a market that prizes youth and vitality! Bentley will surely keep the design industry on its toes for the next 40 years.

Continue reading Bentley Carries California Dreamin’ Into The 21st Century

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