Like many words in America’s lexicon, “trend” has taken on several meanings. Stories trend on Facebook for an hour, questionable fashion trends fill stores, and trending colors fill our vision for 12 months before being replaced by next year’s hottest hues. Conversely, long-term trends are constantly marching ahead, unburdened by what pigments they may take on.
When it comes to NeoCon, there is an age-old question: “What are you seeing?” Last year, my go-to answer was “chartreuse and felt,” and while that is technically true, the thing that intrigues me about one of the biggest American tradeshows is the glimpse at where the industry is and where it is going. Of course, those long-term trends take more time to digest, and more questions need to be asked to understand what three packed days and 500-plus companies truly mean. There is so much more to unpack than what can be surmised at face value; there is so much more that goes into the world around us than simply putting beautiful products together to create a beautiful space. (Although, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here.)
What we see every year at NeoCon gives us a glimpse of what we can expect for the next several years, and product design isn’t created in a vacuum without influence from socio-economic factors. Last year was exciting for me in that, compared to 2015, we saw an explosion of color and an experimentation of shape and function. It hardly seems a coincidence that more risks were taken after the 2015 ASID Industry Report stated we were back to pre-recession stats; limits can be pushed when you aren’t confined to only creating the standard high-sellers to keep accounts level.
So, while I will probably tell you “chartreuse and felt” if you ask me what I’m seeing on the show floor at NeoCon, this issue digs deeper into the larger trends we’ve paid attention to over the last few years. Our Report (pg. 44) takes a look at our current culture of reuse in fascinating new ways. The Happenings coverage of Cevisama (pg. 28) looks at what you can expect from surfacing—specifically tile—for the next few years. The collections by Carnegie in Steals+Splurges (pg. 86) blend the duality of acoustic materials, taking on new dimensions and textures.
Additionally, we’re introducing a new feature called Theory (pg. 32), which will make its appearance on our soon-to-be-released website update and occasionally in our digital and print editions. One aspect of interior design that was brought up by members of our wonderful
advisory board is that it is not discussed critically in the same way we converse about architecture. While interior design doesn’t have the same longevity that architecture enjoys, that almost makes it more important to study details of design because you’re evaluating the ever-changing norms of society.
The Theory article will also allow for experimentation. We’ll be able to present thoughts on where design is going, and then later reflect on whether those theories came to be or completely veered off course. We want to get you thinking and joining the conversation on design.