Tag Archives: NeoCon

Outcome of Design Conference


The inaugural Outcome of Design Conference (OODC), March 21 – 22 at The Merchandise Mart (theMart) in Chicago, will provide an in-depth focus on the impact of design on the human experience. Thought leaders and Outcome of Design Award (OOD) finalists will present on the theory and practice of design, new tools and processes, strategy, technology, and research – all through the lens of projects that successfully illustrate that “Design Impacts Lives.”



5:00 PM
3/21/2019 – 3/22/2019


The Merchandise Mart (theMart)
Chicago, IL
United States



A world-class collection of thought leaders in design, including the OOD Award finalists, will share innovative projects from designers and businesses that focus on the quantifiable effect of projects on people in spaces. Projects that measure the outcome of design on the human experience through sustainable, humancentric, and socially responsible design solutions are the future, and the OODC will include the innovators who are leading the charge.

The OODC is an ideal conference for interior designers and those who practice in related fields including facilities management, architecture, lighting design, landscape architecture, and more, who are committed to designing for the best outcome on the human experience.

The OODC is held in partnership with Herman Miller, NeoCon, and Metropolis.


Doreen Lorenzo, M.A.


Clinical Professor of Design and Future, Director of the Center for Integrated Design, University of Texas-Austin

Co-founder, Vidlet and Independent business advisor and design columnist

Read more

Sandra Leigh Lester, BTech.Arch.Sci., MCOD, ARIDO, IDC, ZIN, PTS, CSBA, LEED AP BD+C


Affecting Change, Inc.

Read more

Fred Marks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Six Sigma Green Belt


Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA)

Visiting Scholar, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Read more

Avinash Rajagopal



Read more

Joseph White


Herman Miller

Read more

Byron Morton


the MART

Read more

Randy Fiser, Hon. FASID



Read more



In Partnership With:



Media Sponsor:


Celebrate, explore, network, and learn at the inaugural Outcome of Design Conference. Discover the theory and practice of design through the work of the Outcome of Design Award winners on Thursday, March 21, and immerse yourself in the implications of design outcomes with presentations from industry leaders on Friday morning, March 22. Explore the winning projects with the OOD finalists as they discuss their design solutions on Friday afternoon.

Outcome of Design Conference Schedule

Thursday, March 21

5:00 p.m. | Registration & Cocktail Hour

6 – 7:00 p.m. | Outcome of Design Awards Presentation

7 – 9:00 p.m. | Reception

Friday, March 22

7 – 8:00 a.m. | Registration + Breakfast

8 – 9:00 a.m. | Opening Keynote: Preparing Future Generations to Influence Corporate Culture

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. | Break

9:15 a.m.– 9:45 a.m. | Morning Exploration: Technology

9:45 a.m.– 10:15 a.m. | Morning Exploration: Professional Practice

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. | Morning Exploration: Design Education

10:45 – 11:00 a.m. | Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Morning Panel

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. | Lunch at Marshall’s Landing

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Outcome of Design Award Finalist Project Panel #1

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. | Break

2:45 – 3:45 p.m. | Outcome of Design Award Finalist Project Panel #2

3:45 – 4:00 p.m. | Break

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. | Outcome of Design Award Finalist Project Panel #3



Continue reading Outcome of Design Conference


Outcome of Design Conference


The inaugural Outcome of Design Conference (OODC), March 21 – 22 at The Merchandise Mart (theMart) in Chicago, will provide an in-depth focus on the impact of design on the human experience. Thought leaders and Outcome of Design Award (OOD) finalists will present on the theory and practice of design, new tools and processes, strategy, technology, and research – all through the lens of projects that successfully illustrate that “Design Impacts Lives.”


5:00 PM
3/21/2019 – 3/22/2019


The Merchandise Mart (theMart)
Chicago, IL
United States


Continue reading Outcome of Design Conference

Call For Presentations Deadline!

You are invited to submit a presentation application to be considered for NeoCon 2019. NeoCon continues to build on its legacy as the most anticipated event in the industry by providing unparalleled programming from leading experts across a range of educational tracks and categories.

Continue reading Call For Presentations Deadline!

Outcome Of Design Awards

Welcome to the online submission platform for the ASID Outcome of Design Awards! 


(Submissions due December 5, 2018 11:59 p.m. EST.)

Awards Overview

Launching in Fall 2018, the ASID Outcome of Design Awards, in partnership with Herman Miller and NeoCon, celebrate the proof in the power of design. By highlighting new tools and processes in design, strategy technology, and research, the Awards seek to recognize projects that successfully illustrate that “Design Impacts Lives.”

Continue reading Outcome Of Design Awards

Scandinavian Design Brings Simplicity to the States


On the 11th floor of the Merchandise Mart sits a Nordic design hub of activity and excitement – even when the showroom is utterly devoid of people. One may have noticed the new Scandinavian Spaces location during NeoCon as tides of onlookers flowed through, lounging on the sofas, having conversations in the moss alcove and seemingly conducting meetings over a series of seating systems. But even if you missed the NeoCon introduction, the bevy of awards and mentions in the short few months since June has left many in the industry wondering whether the Scandinavian furniture company appeared seemingly overnight.

The answer: yes and no.


Brothers and co-owners Thomas and Robert Jönsson have been working diligently since 2011 to grow the Scandinavian Spaces brand. After seven years of attending NeoCon, they invested in their own showroom in Chicago. The electrifyingly colorful showroom, designed by Ghislaine Viñas, won Best Small Showroom and introduced the brand to the wider commercial design market. Since then, they’ve increased their sales team and reach, utilizing the momentum gained through the annual trade show.

Things have moved quickly.

However, the Jönsson brothers grew up with an entrepreneurial father who saw modernistic simplicity – a hallmark in their native Sweden – was missing from American office designs. Although working in tech sales during the ‘90s, the elder Jönsson decided to tap into the demand for upgraded corporate interiors after the dot-com burst.

Thomas and Robert grew up helping their father’s fledgling business, assembling furniture on weekends.

Both moved on to other fields in college; Thomas received a chemical science degree from University of California, Berkeley, while Robert moved to Austin, Texas, to pursue a finance BA and accounting MA from University of Texas.

As Robert puts it, laughing at the irony, “I said there was no way in hell I was going to continue our father’s work.”

The stock market once again had other plans for the Jönssons. Robert called Thomas, convincing him to move to Austin from Stockholm, and together they approached their parents in purchasing the company with the goal of bringing Scandinavian design and furniture to the States.

More Design ? Joanna Gaines takes on Commercial Design

Today they represent nine Scandinavian companies – all of which currently come from Sweden. While their heritage and ties stem from Sweden (where they both were born and lived until the ‘90s), Thomas said the use of the term “Scandinavian” was intentional. They have plans to continue expanding as far as possible and decided from the beginning not to create constraints on their brand. The future of the company can see the inclusion of design from around the Scandinavian regions.


Already that expansion is evident. In 2018 they leased the newly available 11th floor spot in the Merchandise Mart just in time for NeoCon.

They admit they may have jumped the gun, and waiting another year to settle into a showroom space could have been helpful (particularly as Thomas’s first child was born in April), but fortune tends to favor the brave.

It also favors those who know how to surround themselves with those who can fill the gaps in their abilities and knowledge. They hired Ghislaine Viñas to design the showroom, and her strong grasp of interiors and colors pulled the space together, sometimes even against the brothers’ initial opinions.

In Scandinavian countries, bright hues are often used, which gave Viñas a wide berth for her designs. “I remember when she came to us with the original color schematics and we were like… oh man…” laughs Robert, recounting their nerves over designing the showroom.

Thomas adds, “I remember opening it up and saying ‘Rob! It’s a yellow sofa!’”

“What made me nervous were all the tones of yellow,” Robert continues. “I wasn’t sure and asked, ‘Can you do this?’ I remember [Viñas] said: ‘Robert, I’m an expert at this. You’re colorblind. Let me do my job.’”

That trust earned the Best Small Showroom award at NeoCon, and the multi-tones of yellow not only ended up working but have become the most noticeable aspects of the space.


Much has been said over the years regarding the importance of wellness in workplace design, as well as the reemergence of Modernism in America.

The history of design in the Scandinavian region has always centered around wellness and Modernist aesthetics, however. According to the United Nations, Norway, Denmark and Sweden were three of the top five happiest countries in the world, alongside their Nordic neighbors Finland and Iceland. (Scandinavia is defined as Norway, Denmark and Sweden, while Nordic countries are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and their associated territories.)

Known for being the birthplace of IKEA, Swedish design has often been associated with clean, simplistic lines and utilitarianism. IKEA began selling mail-order furniture in 1948. The flat-packages meant convenient and cheap shipping, and the self-assembly aspect of simplistic furniture allowed even the most impoverished citizens to buy and personalize their furniture and living spaces. The no-nonsense of furniture highlighted by whimsical, bright and colorful accessories and textiles has continued to be a hallmark of Swedish design.

Robert points out that looking at Swedish design history, one would see the same aesthetic further back in time.

Additionally, while America is debating what constitutes wellness in the workplace – as well as sit-stand desks and the open office versus closed office question – Scandinavian design has been at the forefront of health and wellness. Pointing to KINNARPS’ Polaris and Series[P] sit-stand desks, Robert mentions that the company sold its first sit-stand systems in the early ‘90s. “Scandinavian design is about 10 years ahead of the rest of the world.”


Of course, being the first doesn’t automatically mean most successful, but the Jönssons are hoping that some of their more extreme pieces will be seen as innovative classics by history – even if they aren’t currently flying off the shelves.

That hasn’t been the case for their Vagabond by Materia system that began selling immediately after being presented. Robert says they were shocked by the reception at first – they were prepared to wait months or years after a product is made available for it to start to gain traction in the industry. Vagabond’s success has helped the brothers find their feet in a market they admit they don’t have an educational background in.


What lies at the heart of Scandinavian Spaces, beyond the aesthetic, bright colors and awards, are the ideals of the Jönsson brothers that they are currently learning to disseminate throughout their fast-growing company. Creating a company culture is hard, they admitted, but it’s an important aspect of creating longevity for their brand and emboldening their employees.

When asked what’s on the horizon or if they needed some time to absorb all the changes in the last year, they laughed and answered “a little bit of both.”

[ More Design News | How This Wildlife Refuge Created the Top Restroom of 2018 ]



These easy-to-place acoustic panels give designers a wide variety of customizable options through color and how they are arranged on a vertical surface.


Available in 15 colors, the Pixel collection is made of natural Reindeer Moss. Environmentally friendly and fire-resistant, the moss can be laid out on horizontal or vertical surfaces, providing sound absorption and an eye-catching detail.


Blending seating, work surface, and the ability to swivel, Innovation C is the next thing in informal task seating.


Goodbye to boring trash bins! Bin from Materia takes inspiration from paper lanterns to create a sculptural vessel for tossing waste.


Saving space doesn’t mean sacrificing design. With the Gap table from Blå Station, each table nestles into each other, stacking away quickly and easily.


Within the Scandinavian Spaces Chicago showroom is an example of the Poppe chair in bright yellow. Lovingly referred to as “The Banana Chair,” the thin seat and high-back of the Poppe provides an eye-catching silhouette while the shape gives optimal lumbar support.

Continue reading Scandinavian Design Brings Simplicity to the States

Designer Todd Bracher on How American Design is Different from the European Scene

Since 2011, Bracher has had a host of releases at NeoCon—across product categories like furniture, flooring, and lighting—and has also designed a number of showrooms at the Mart.

Todd Bracher neocon interview

This interview was conducted by Metropolis as part of its NeoCon 50 retrospective series as told to Avinash Rajagopal.

Continue reading Designer Todd Bracher on How American Design is Different from the European Scene

Getting ready for ‘show’ time

Susan Mulholland

Monday, May 07, 2018

Share this article
Getting ready for ‘show’ time

Design is all about the next big thing. We are all obsessed with the idea that there is something new or better out there, and we just have to find it.

This is where interior decorators’ and designers’ true passion resides. If you don’t believe me just go to any of the design conferences listed in the professional interior design trade magazines.

Some people have said that design showrooms and big conferences like High Point Market and NeoCon are not as popular as they once were because now everything can be found on the internet. This was particularly true during the Great Recession, when everyone, including manufacturers, were scaling back their lines and new introductions.

This was a tough time not only for our industry but for the conference show circuit. Attendance was down, and manufacturers were pulling out of permanent showroom spaces in high rent design centers to save money.

And, well, designers were just not going. We all have our personal reasons why, but it seemed like the heyday of design shows, and conferences were at an end. Not true.

I have been practicing professionally for two-and-a-half decades, and I can tell you that no matter how many emails you get from manufacturers telling you about their latest product introductions, nothing beats going to the shows and seeing them in person. Even though attendance was down, and introductions were limited, there were still some designers who needed that yearly fix of attending a design show, and because of them, this phenomena that happens every year is still with us.

The market experience is shopping on steroids. And like every shop-aholic knows, you need to be prepared for 3-5 days of insanity.

This includes everything from loud noise to too many parties and not enough sleep. Comfortable, but stylish shoes are a must, and so is a good bag to keep all the goodies that you get while you are “shopping.”

For newbies, going with a seasoned veteran is the best way to enjoy this adventure. It is the type of adventure that comes from learning and experience. Every designer who has been even to only one of these events can tell you that it’s unlike anything else we do in our daily professional lives.

I know that not every designer or decorator gets excited about attending these shows and markets. Reasons range from that you are forced to walk what seems to be endless miles of convention center space without having a break to not being able to find a chair that you can sit in for more than 10 seconds.

To some, they even think that it all looks the same and become overwhelmed by it all. If that is the case, there is another component to these events that even a non-shopper can appreciate. It’s education.

Many of these design shows offer opportunities to get continuing education credits. There are presentations given on every topic related to the design field. Design is about knowledge. If you haven’t given a thought to attending a design show, maybe this is the reason you do.

Learning what good design is never ends. Hearing from your peers and other design professionals can be just as inspiring as seeing a new chair or line of textiles.

Design is in of itself an experience. We tell our clients that by hiring us, you are making an investment in your personal or work space.

With the millions of offerings of furniture, flooring options, textiles, wall coverings, lighting and accessories available, it takes someone who is trained to see the right “stuff” for the right client. What works for one client may not work for another, and this is why going to these shows are so important.

Good design combines the best of what is old with what is new, and takes seeing the possibilities of what can be. Our vision is our gift to our clients. We know what will work and what won’t.

This is also why manufacturers are eager for us to see their new offerings for interiors every year. They spend millions of dollars in research and development to come up with new products for our industry.

They know that if we can see the design potential, it will make them money. They also know that if enough of us don’t see the design potential, it will be gone before it hits the streets. Our collective design brain knows a good thing when we see it!

So, are you ready? If you haven’t made plans for attending at least one design conference this year, you should definitely make plans for next year.

Yes, they can be expensive and yes, they take you away from your office and clients, but the benefits are so worth it! You not only have the inside scoop on what the manufacturers are developing for the future, you have an opportunity to meet new people, including new manufacturers, have some fun with other designers and get inspired for your next project.

Interior design is about how people interact with their space and possessions. Offering your clients something new and fresh is an advantage that you get from attending a design show, whether it is for a home, an office, hotel or hospital.

Continue reading Getting ready for ‘show’ time

Brian Walker Caps 29-Year Career at Herman Miller, New CEO Search Underway

After 29 years at Herman Miller including 14 years at the helm, president and chief executive officer Brian Walker has announced his retirement from the Zeeland, Michigan-based industry giant.

“Now is the right time to transition the company to its next generation of leadership,” says Walker. “We developed the building blocks necessary to navigate the changes we predicted would impact the core office furniture marketplace, and we remain committed to these priorities as we focus on maintaining our momentum.”

Continue reading Brian Walker Caps 29-Year Career at Herman Miller, New CEO Search Underway

%d bloggers like this: