Story at a glance:

  • NeoCon returns to the Merch Mart after more than a year away.
  • Sustainable flooring, seating, and more were among this year’s award-winning designs.

After a year on hiatus due to Covid, NeoCon returned to the Merch Mart in Chicago October 4 to 6, 2021 with many new ideas about healthy office design and more.

From seating that diverts waste from landfills to privacy pods that strive to make the return to the office feel a little bit safer, these are some of the highlights from year’s major event.

1. noho Move Chair


Photo courtesy of ECONYL

The noho Move Chair made with ECONYL(r) regenerated nylon won Best of NeoCon Gold as well as sustainability awards this year. ECONYL is a regenerated nylon made from waste diverted from landfills—including carpet, industrial plastic, fishing nets, and fabric scraps. noho Move is a beautiful, ergonomic example of sustainable design.

noho manufactures all of its furniture in New Zealand to ensure sustainability through the supply chain while powering production with 82% renewable energy. This latest design, created by Formway, transforms the traditional static nature of home furniture by integrating the dynamic ergonomic comfort of a premium office chair and sustainable design to create a chair that flexes and flows with your body.

2. Tarkett’s Color Splash Speckled Rubber Tile


Color Splash. Photo courtesy of Tarkett

Color, style, safety, and sustainability are some of the key features of Tarkett’s new Color Splash Speckled Rubber tile. The new collection offers 50 on-trend standard colors inspired by the outdoors in standard 24-by-24-inch square tiles, including tonal visuals that work alongside multi-colored chipped colorations. Tarkett’s industry-leading Color Matchtechnology for rubber flooring allows designers to create any running line or custom color precisely, every time, without dye lots. Architects and designers can customize the field color or accents and carry the same tailored palette across other Tarkett surfaces for a unified space.

“Rubber flooring is a great solution for applications where slip resistance, durability, easy maintenance, and comfort underfoot are important,” says Jeff Robinette, senior product manager, rubber, at Tarkett North America. “Besides the great new standard visuals within our new Color Splash collection, Tarkett offers custom visuals with very low minimums. Whether a customer needs to tweak a standard speckled sku or wants a fully custom marbleized visual, Tarkett makes it easy to personalize their space.”

The Color Splash collection brings the many sustainable benefits with it, from being low VOC to carbon neutral and phthalate-free. It’s also FloorScore–certified and Cradle to Cradle–certified Bronze.

3. Bradley Corp’s Next Generation Washbar


Photo courtesy of Bradley Corp.

This L-shaped evolution in all-in-one handwashing is touch-free, gold, and glamorous. Bradley’s next generation WashBar features a thin, L-shaped design that gives the feel the all-in-one fixture is floating above the sink for an innovative and sleek aesthetic. And with only one connection point to the sink, you have more open space for easier cleaning.

“Now, more than ever before, touch-free handwashing technologies like the WashBar are at the forefront of limiting the spread of germs in public restrooms,” says Will Haas, senior product manager at Bradley Corp. “In addition to being completely touchless, this next-gen ultra-modern fixture gives the appearance that it is floating above the sink. Its superslim angular shape—complemented by its flat top surface—reflects modern architecture and interior design.”

The new WashBar combines touch-free soap, water and dryer, while the durable chrome-plated cast alloy fixture features LED lighting to guide you through the hand-washing process with easy-to-identify icons. When a low-level LED indicator illuminates, the soap container is replaced with a new full container. Since there is no reusable soap tank, no cleaning is required and germ contamination is minimized. Water is dispensed at 0.5 GPM although it is also available with an ultra-high efficiency flow rate of 0.35 GPM when water conservation is a necessity.

4. Nantucket Drawers and Trays for 4-Post Shelving


Photo courtesy of Spacesaver

What’s more efficient than saving space? When the 390,000-square-foot Ingenium Center in Ottawa needed to store millions of artifacts they turned to Spacesaver, and we can see why.

Inspired by a special request from the Nantucket Historical Society, Spacesaver’s Nantucket system of high-quality drawers and trays easily accommodates growth and change in a beautiful, timeless design. The Nantucket Drawers and Trays for 4-Post Shelving system is made in the US using sustainable materials like heavy-duty steel. Nantucket comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

5. Aspecta Contours


Aspecta Contour in Chambord. Photo courtesy of HMTX

HMTX Industries took home Best of NeoCon Silver in the Hard Surface Flooring: Vinyl/LVT category for its impressive Aspecta Contours this year. The boutique style collection of large-scale patterned floors is built on the foundation of the LVT leader’s ISOCORE Technology. Designers can choose from four floor designs, each sharing a common palette of eight colors that allow you to apply traditional parquet motifs in an oversized scale.

Aspecta Contours’ patterns include Chambord (pictured)—a single plank, large-scale Chevron design; Tarascon, a modern take on basketweave; the Chantilly whalebone pattern; and Versailles, smaller-scale, pre-assembled chevron planks.

All Aspecta flooring products carry Declare labels, Health Product Declarations, and Environmental Product Declarations for the entire Aspecta line. Aspecta has also achieved BES 6001, a European standard for responsible sourcing of construction projects with a focus on the production process. Aspecta has achieved ASSURE CERTIFIED industry-wide, uniform standards for rigid core LVT safety, quality and performance.

6. SnapCab Work+


Photo courtesy of SnapCab

Work+ from SnapCab is a mobile, standalone private office pod for one person. Inside these sleek pods, you have everything you need to get work done, safely, in a private office with four USB charging outlets, dimmable LED downlights, acoustic ceiling tiles, and motion activated ventilation.

SnapCab has been developing flexible architectural solutions like these for more than 35 years. SnapCabs are UL Listed, seismic-certified, and fire-rated with the option to include a fire suppression solution.