NeoCon 2010: Recession Hasn’t Curtailed Creativity in Office Furniture Sector

The mood was upbeat at the annual Best of NeoCon product awards breakfast. As they do every year, manufacturers and their product designers gathered on the first morning of NeoCon World’s Trade Fair to hear the winners of the competition that was juried by 51 facilities management executives and commercial interior designers during the preceding three days.

CHICAGO – The mood was upbeat at the annual Best of NeoCon product awards breakfast. As they do every year, manufacturers and their product designers gathered on the first morning of NeoCon World’s Trade Fair to hear the winners of the competition that was juried by 51 facilities management executives and commercial interior designers during the preceding three days. All NeoCon product introductions provide a glimpse into upcoming workplace trends—and a Best of NeoCon win can catapault a new company or unknown designer into stardom not to mention help increase traffic to the showroom.

A total of 81 awards were distributed to companies including Allsteel, Steelcase and InterfaceFLOR with the coveted Best of Competition award going to Wilkhahn’s Ergonomic ON® Chair (which also won a Gold Award in the Seating: Ergonomic/Task category and a Silver Award in Seating: Conference). ON® by Wilkhahn in the Seating: Ergonomic/Task category (shown above right) captured the coveted Best of Competition, as well as the Gold Award in that category and a Silver Award in Seating: Conference.

Tapping into the latest research on workplace productivity and ergonomics, ON is designed to address the fact that the majority of back pain results from excessive, daily inactivity. With functionality that mimics that of an exercise ball, the chair provides the user with a center of gravity for fluid and natural 3-D movement. It also is easy to disassemble and comes at a competitive price point. The judges remarked, “ON by Wilkhahn is a great chair on every level—it looks good without screaming about ergonomics. It has innovative functionality, is very comfortable and well-priced.”

See all the winners here.

The Best of NeoCon® Competition is sponsored by Contract magazine, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., McMorrow Report.com, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and the International Facility Management Association. There were 337 entries in this year’s competition. Fifty-one facilities managers and commercial interior designers spent more than 22 hours over three days judging the entrants taking into consideration functional as well as aesthetic considerations. The judges visited all entrants at their Merchandise Mart showrooms and exhibit spaces, listened to compelling presentations and got up close and personal with the products. Entries were judged on a combination of functional and aesthetic considerations.