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NeoCon 2013: Ready, Set, Go!

This June’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair will feature a dizzying array of exciting product introductions, events and exhibitions—here’s a few you won’t want to miss.


This June’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair will feature a dizzying array of exciting product introductions, events and exhibitions—here’s a few you won’t want to miss.

If you’re making the annual pilgrimage to Chicago for the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair this year,

planning for your trip can be a daunting proposition, as there’s so much to see and do in the Windy City in just three short days (June 10-12). NeoCon is known for tapping the brightest minds and industry innovators for its keynote and educational sessions, and between the special events and thousands of products that will be on display, it’s hard not to miss something.

This year will be no exception, so we’ve compiled a few highlights of the exhibitions and events you can expect to see at the Mart next month.


Interiors & Sources Materials Pavilion
For the third year, Interiors & Sources will introduce NeoCon attendees to the newest, most innovative

materials and finishes on the market at the Materials Pavilion—a hands-on, one-stop shop for a variety of decorative products from the industry’s leading suppliers. The Pavilion will feature an inspiring array of products, curated by designer and materials historian Grace Jeffers, in partnership with the experts at Material Intelligence, an informational resource on surfacing solutions for designers and fabricators.

While you’re there, don’t forget to register in one of our daily drawings for a chance to win an Apple iPad 2! Also be sure to stop by on Tuesday afternoon to meet the Interiors & Sources 2013 I Like Design student internship contest winner, Mary Claire Fuqua.

READ: Get an exclusive preview of this year's I&S Materials Pavilion at NeoCon.

Outdoor Office Exhibition
7th floor
The Outdoor Office, designed by Los Angeles-based designer Jonathan Olivares, looks at an area that has until now been unexplored: the types of furniture used for outdoor activities other than leisure and entertainment pursuits. This speculative design project was developed with the goal of understanding new types of office spaces for education and business environments.

As working habits change and our mobile devices allow us the freedom to work outside of traditional offices, we are increasingly seeking alternative spaces that make productive activities feasible outdoors. This, in turn, demands new types of furniture and architectural elements. The Outdoor Office synthesizes the result of Olivares’s findings, from inspirational images drawn from film and television to models he developed for new types of offices and furniture systems. Although hypothetical, Olivares’s research sets a benchmark for new thinking and discovery, encouraging further examination of this developing area of design.

Green Spot and Sustainability Timeline
1st floor
The Green Product Gallery and Education Center showcases new, innovative, sustainable and eco-friendly products from the Merchandise Mart’s many showroom partners. Also featured is the Sustainability Timeline, which celebrates many of the accomplishments of the Mart, its tenants and the City of Chicago. Addressing global environmental challenges, the display highlights the product innovations, research findings and events of the last several decades that reduce our environmental footprint and make the world a better place to live. To learn more about all the green initiatives in place at the Merchandise Mart, visit

Buzzispace Lounge
1st floor
Need a space to meet a colleague, make a phone call, converse with a client, or just escape from the NeoCon hubbub? The BuzziSpace Lounge is the perfect destination for you! A “world of silence” awaits you just around the corner from the Starbucks by the Kinzie Wells entrance.


Professional development has always been an integral component of NeoCon, and this year’s conference schedule includes nearly 100 CEU-accredited seminars and industry association forums, giving trade professionals the opportunity to discover the newest trends and techniques from some of the top names in the industry. Show organizers have lined up four dynamic keynote speakers that you won’t want to miss:

Bjarke Ingels, Founder, Big
Monday, June 10, at 8 a.m.
Bjarke Ingels founded BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) in 2005 after co-founding PLOT Architects in 2001 and working at OMA in Rotterdam. Through a series of award-winning design projects and buildings, Ingels has developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost- and resource-conscious. In 2011, The Wall Street Journal awarded Ingels the Architectural Innovator of the Year Award. In 2012, the American Institute of Architects granted the 8 House its Honor Award, calling it “a complex and exemplary project of a new typology.”

Michael Vanderbyl, Principal, Vanderbyl Design
Tuesday, June 11, at 8 a.m.
Michael Vanderbyl has gained international prominence in the design field as a practitioner, educator, critic and advocate. Since being established in San Francisco in 1973, his firm, Vanderbyl Design, has evolved into a multidisciplinary studio with expertise in identity, print and digital communications, interiors, showrooms, retail spaces, signage, textiles, fashion apparel, packaging, furniture and product design. Printed work by Vanderbyl has gained recognition in every major design competition in the United States and Europe; his work is part of the permanent collections of several museums and is featured in national and international publications.

Holly Hunt, President + CEO, Holly Hunt
Tuesday, June 11 at 1 p.m.
A native of Texas, Holly Hunt describes her design-centric work as “a business of 10,000 details.” Hunt leads HOLLY HUNT, the company, as president and CEO and is intimately involved in design and creative work. In 1983, Hunt began in the interior design business by buying a small showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, which she filled with the best-of-class luxury designer collections. She subsequently expanded her reach into all major U.S. markets. The HOLLY HUNT brand has become the premier design and distribution entity for high-end interior furnishings in the country.

Lauren Rottet, Founder, Rottet Studio
Wednesday, June 12, at noon
Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA, interior architect and founder of Rottet Studio, is equally known for her expertise and leadership in the design of office environments, hotels and now residences. In particular, she is cited for her expertise in advancing office design to reflect a current approach based on technology, contemporary methods of working and bringing a more relaxed hospitality approach to the workplace. Among her extraordinary record of awards, publications, juries and honors, Rottet recently became the only woman in history to be elevated to Fellow status by both the American Institute of Architects and International Interior Design Association.


This year, the editorial staff at Interiors & Sources and our Materials Pavilion partners will be delivering several educational sessions at NeoCon that will educate and inspire designers and specifiers alike. Editor-in-Chief Robert Nieminen will deliver a presentation titled, “Social Media: Usage & Best Practices in the A&D Community” on Tuesday, June 11 at 2:30 p.m., based on recent research exploring how social media is being used by design firms and how designers can leverage this tool in their practices.

READ: Learn how A&D firms are leveraging free social media tools to increase their presence.

Kenn Busch, founder of Material Intelligence, will be examining the emergence of thermally fused laminate (TFL), and the performance and environmental characteristics of this material in his presentation, “The Next Generation of Durable, Eco-Certified Panels: The Global Shift Toward TFL,” on Monday, June 10th at 1:00 p.m.

Finally, design historian and curator of the Materials Pavilion, Grace Jeffers, will present “Man Made Natural: Real vs. Fake Materials—A New Perspective,” on Tuesday, June 11 at 4:00 p.m. Jeffers will confront some common misconceptions about many familiar materials we specify today.

Please join us for these special seminars as well as at the Materials Pavilion on the 8th floor. We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!