While my sinuses are still not quite right after my time in the humidity, the rest of me has reacclimated to my life in Colorado. And now, I have a lot of information to process, research, store in the proper locations and keep it in mind for my next projects. I saw some really great products! By revamping existing products to create something new, manufacturers created new trends:
Workstations with Community Areas
Several manufacturer’s have integrated a community area into their workstations. Whether soft or hard seating, this area allows for several things. I could see doing a simple meeting with a few people that doesn’t necessarily need to be private. I could see moving to these locations to have lunch which will help someone decompress during lunch; separate their working from their break. Below, two of my favorites at the show.
Cafe Height Workstations and Tables
While the use of cafe height tables has been popping up in residential furniture in the past few years, it hadn’t quite made it’s way into the commercial sect except for at dining tables. However, that has all changed. In what seemed like every furniture showroom I saw an example of cafe height items. Whether workstations or conference tables, the commercial furniture manufacturers have recognized that sometimes meetings are mere minutes and there’s no need to sit down. Having these cafe height installations allows for quick meetings in a more casual surrounding. The below is from Global, one of my favorite manufacturers, in a workstation application.
I alluded to this trend in my Facebook post last week. After that post, I saw it at several other showrooms. While all done slightly differently, the overall concept is the same. Carpet tiles that incorporate several colors, whether the same hue or completely different colors, to create a distinctly faded look. I will say, I prefer the ones that used multiple colors to create the fade only because I could see people wondering if the tiles using the same hues were actually faded. But the look of all of them is gorgeous. Mohawk, on the left, used multiple colors for the fade while Shaw, on the right, leans more toward using the same hue. Milliken and InterFace FLOR also offered a line with this look.
NeoCon is mostly about introducing new products. Whether it be like the above, where the product previously existed but is being done in a new way, or like the below where the items are new to the (US) market. One of these is just new to me, not to the market, but these two were the main ones that struck my interest:
3M DI-NOC Architectural Finishes
I cannot believe I’ve never come across this product before but am very glad I did. Similar in finish to plastic laminate, the product is actually a film applied to any substrate. However, because of it’s lack of thickness, it wraps curves better than plastic laminate. It also doesn’t require the same type of seams as plastic laminate so there are no seams at corners. 3M also does glass films, Fasra, that I could see being easier that etching and similar. You can see on the image below how well the product wraps corners.
Laminam by Crossville
I am absolutely in love and cannot wait to use this product! I’ll be waiting for at least a few months, however, as it hasn’t hit the US market yet. Laminam is actually a porcelain sheet, 100cm (about 3′-3”) wide by 300cm (about 9′-10”) tall by a mere 3mm (about 1/8”) thick, in 55 patterns, for use on walls. It can be installed on new construction or used as cladding over existing construction. I can see using it in so many different ways. As an accent wall, reception desk fronts, for signage, in showers, etc. I was told that it can be applied to curved surfaces though I didn’t see it applied as such so I’m not sure exactly what the finished look is. But if it can? How much better will that look than faceted tiles on a curved wall?!? I think this product might take the US by storm! Shown as an accent wall in an office in Italy, I think you can see how striking this material can be.
I was only able to spend about a day and a half at the show but every minute was well worth it. However, I was mostly able to only hit showrooms of products I already knew to get information on their new products. I look forward to going again next year and spending more time looking at all the exhibitors. It was an awesome learning experience and I’m excited to share it with my clients!