A Look Back at a Lively NeoCon 2024


The 55th edition of NeoCon, the world’s leading platform and voice for commercial interior design, wrapped up last week marking another successful year. The show reported a robust attendance of more than 50,000, as architects, designers, specifiers, facility managers, manufacturers, and end-users from across the globe converged at THE MART June 10-12. The energy and the spirit of innovation ran high with nearly 400 leading companies showcasing pioneering new solutions across sectors—from workplace and education, to healthcare and hospitality. Impactful keynote presentations, timely educational sessions, dynamic awards programs, interactive installations, and events enriched the experience, offering opportunities to engage and learn from leaders across a range of industries and sectors.

Showcasing some of the prevailing trends that are shaping not only the commercial industry but also reflect the overall needs of the community at large, NeoCon introductions illustrated the importance of designing for a neurodiverse population, as well as underscored the urgent need for circular design and sustainable solutions. There was also a greater emphasis on neuroaesthetics, as brands are taking into account design’s impact on the brain in their product development processes. As a result, vibrant color came back in a big way this year, as did bold patterns, emphasizing a global desire for more warmth and happiness in all aspects of how we live and work. There was also a notable focus on outdoor solutions, highlighting the enduring market demand for spaces that incorporate the outdoors and promote mental and physical well-being. A more detailed overview of this year’s trends can be found in the 2024 Trends Report.

“It’s exciting to have so many showrooms in one location and to see some of the similar trends across several different brands,” remarks Sarah Kuchar-Parkinson, Owner, Creative Director, Kuchar Studio. “Walking the halls of THE MART at NeoCon, I am on the lookout for emerging trends––in everything from materiality, furniture, color, and more. I also get excited to see how the manufacturers are responding to changing business needs with their products, and imagining how we’ll use them. It brings fresh new ideas to our projects each year!”

A dozen new showrooms debuted at NeoCon 2024 including ergoCentric, Fōmcore, Nurus, Akouo Acoustics and Nevins. This year was also marked by a strong international presence. Estonian manufacturer Silen OÜ, Belgian brand Bulo, Croatian brand Prostoria, and Swedish company Mizetto unveiled new spaces, all having chosen THE MART for their permanent flagship locations in the US. Attendees also had the opportunity to explore several newly expanded showrooms this year, including Kettal, Arcadia, Innovant, and Ghent, a GMi Company.

“It was wonderful to connect personally with thousands of designers and architects at this year’s NeoCon,” comments Brian Nevins, CEO of Nevins. “The feedback we received on our new showroom and on our new introductions was invaluable, and the collaborative environment of THE MART made it all the more special.”

“Our showroom and 1st floor pop-up space experienced an exceptional turnout and buzzed with activity from attendees. As a NeoCon exhibitor, we gain invaluable exposure to potential customers in the design community,” says Chris Smith, CEO of KFI Studios.

“Having everyone together means so much. We love being a part of NeoCon and at the very center of our industry,” comments Kurt Vander Schuur, Haworth’s Global Brand Director. “For Haworth, it’s a deep dive into commercial design filled with innovation—and some fun too.”

With over 200 exhibitors on the 7th floor alone, there was much to explore. This year there was a strong focus on tech, flexible furniture, sustainable materials, as well as a proliferation of acoustic solutions for the future focused workplace. A great resource for discovering emerging and notable new brands, 7th floor exhibitors included both domestic and international companies. The Climate Positive Solutions Gallery showcased low-carbon and carbon-negative materials and related technologies that meet the demands of commercial specification without sacrificing design, durability or budget. Likewise, interiors + sources’ Climate Connect Corner featured environmentally-responsible products, projects, and continuing education solutions.

“I’ve been going to NeoCon for over 20 years now and the last four have been as an exhibitor,” comments Susan Pilato, CEO of Mantra Inspired Furniture, which exhibited on the 7th floor. “This year was by far the best as stated by the team who worked our booth. The quality of connections made were stellar!”

Bob Weis, Yinka Ilori, Ruth E. Carter

On the programming side, Gensler’s Global Entertainment Leader, Bob Weis headlined Monday’s keynote presentation, delving into how designers can transform commercial environments into truly memorable experiences that spark emotion. On Tuesday, attendees enjoyed sitting in on an inspiring “fireside chat” with British-Nigerian Multi-Disciplinary Artist and Designer, Yinka Ilori, in conversation with ASID CEO Khoi Vo and IIDA EVP/CEO Cheryl Durst about how design can celebrate cultural identities and elevate the individual while unifying the masses. On Wednesday, 2x Academy Award-winning Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter captivated audiences as she shared how she crafts narratives through the building of immersive worlds. Special featured presentations covered specific topics in more detail—from diversity in practice to how generative AI is changing design. On-site and virtual CEUs, tactical workshops and talks rounded out the expansive and diverse educational offering.

Widely regarded as the leading awards program for the commercial interior design industry, the 34th edition of Best of NeoCon was another highlight of this year’s show. Honoring trailblazing solutions, a total of 126 awards were bestowed upon exhibitors at a festive breakfast gathering on the first day of NeoCon. Selected by a distinguished group of 53 architects, designers, specifiers, enterprise clients, facility managers, and top business media, the winners spanned 50 categories and designations for Gold, Silver, Sustainability, Innovation, Business Impact, and Best of Competition. Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering’s colorful collaboration with Yinka Ilori received the coveted distinction of Best of Competition—marking the first time a product in the Wall Treatments and Textiles category took home the top honors. The Business Impact awards recognize outstanding solutions from an enterprise-oriented perspective. This year’s winning products were Ally by OFS; Unity Table Collection by Mantra Inspired Furniture; Circon by Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering; Smart Pod Product Family by Framery; Silen Space 1.5 by Silen OÜ; Folding Surfaces Table by HOWE; Vox Community by nienkämper; Edison Workbench by Watson Furniture Group; Ambi by Stylex; and 4SPACE Fronts by Haworth. Additional big winners this year were Andreu World with nine awards, and Haworth, Momentum Textiles & Wallcovering, and Davis Furniture taking home seven awards each.

“Entering the 2024 edition of NeoCon was like stepping into a world of endless inspiration, where every corner—from the programming to the products—held new possibilities for the future of interior design,” remarks Fabian Perez, Associate Designer, NetJets and first-time Best of NeoCon juror. “Surrounded by fellow design enthusiasts, I felt an instant connection, like finding my creative community where ideas flowed freely, and boundless creativity thrived. My experience at the show and as part of the Best of NeoCon jury not only filled me with gratitude, but left me filled with excitement and equipped with fresh insights to fuel my own design journey.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to explore interactive and informative installations, including the “Emerging Design: Sensory Experience Lounge.” Created in partnership with Pratt Institute’s Creative Xchange, the multi-sensory installation featured immersive spaces developed by Pratt Institute students and faculty, directed by Professor and Object Agency (O|A) founder Jon Otis. METROPOLIS’ Sustainability Lab on the 11th floor provided another opportunity to view sustainable products and engage in meaningful discourse around ethical and sustainable sourcing and production, as did Mindful MATERIALS’ Impact Area on the 1st floor.

“From our insightful cross-disciplinary conference program to the business being conducted across the show floors, this year’s NeoCon was exceptionally productive and positive,” comments Byron Morton, VP and Co-Head of Leasing at THE MART. “Our layout and amenities, the opportunity to discover exciting new brands, alongside a full schedule of events and education—and all under one roof—is an unparalleled offering. NeoCon allows attendees to accomplish their goals, while also enjoying the invaluable spontaneous connections and moments of inspiration that are sparked at the show.”

More testimonials from exhibitors and attendees can be found here.

Recordings of keynotes and featured presentations are available at neocon.com. Registration and access to 54 Virtual CEU Sessions is available through mid-September via this link.

NeoCon 2025 will be held June 9-11 at THE MART in Chicago.

For exhibitor information, and general NeoCon news, images, and more information, follow NeoCon on: Instagram (@NeoCon_Shows), LinkedIn (@NeoCon-Shows), and Facebook (@NeoConShows).

About NeoCon: NeoCon is the world’s leading platform and most important event for the commercial interiors industry, held each year at THE MART in Chicago. Since launching in 1969, NeoCon has served as the annual gathering place for the commercial design world’s manufacturers, dealers, architects, designers, end-users, design organizations and media. The three-day event showcases game-changing products and services from more than 400 leading and emerging companies—providing unparalleled access to the latest and most innovative solutions. A robust educational program of keynote presentations and CEU sessions offers world-class expertise and insight about today’s most relevant topics as well as the future of commercial design. www.neocon.com

NeoCon® is a registered trademark of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc, a subsidiary of Vornado Realty Trust.

About THE MART: THE MART is the largest privately held commercial building in the United States: It encompasses 4.2 million gross square feet, spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day (or nearly 10 million people annually).

THE MART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies, including Motorola Mobility, 1871, PayPal, Avant and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies Conagra Brands, Allstate, Medline Industries, Beam Suntory, IPG, and Grainger. It is also the largest and most important center for design in North America with more than 250 premier design showrooms offering the latest resources for both residential and commercial markets.