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Our team recently attended the NeoCon Conference in Chicago to gain insights about space planning, interior design, and furniture trends for 2018. In conversation with our Senior Interior Designer Komel Saeed, we took some time to learn a bit more about this inspiring event.

STUDIO EAGLE: What were some of your takeaways from NeoCon 2018? Did you notice any unique trends?

Komel: What I saw differently this year than years previous was that technology is definitely trending. I also noticed there was a bigger emphasis on caring for your employees wellbeing and happiness.

Sound absorbing materials used in creative ways. Location: NeoCon Conference 2018, Chicago, Illinois.

Since polished concrete has become so popular, acoustics and sound absorbing materials have become very high in demand. I saw a lot of cool ceiling trends, wall panels, divider systems, and free-standing trees that absorb sound.

Many companies were showcasing a mixed use of glass. Instead of making everything a fish bowl, they would have partial glass mixed with part solid wall and part acoustical walls.

Enhancing employee productivity with sleep pods was a big trend this year. Employees can now take a 15 minute nap in sleep pods with therapeutic music and dimmed lighting, instead of a coffee break.

Green walls are everywhere! Whether they’re fake or live plants, wall planters, or planters hanging from the ceiling, all are considered a natural element to bring comfort.

A live, growing plant wall. Location: NeoCon Conference 2018, Chicago, Illinois.

Aspects of technology have become integrated right into furniture. Almost every furniture piece had a place to plug-in and charge, or even to project on a screen.

A lot of spaces also featured large oversized type that highlighted branding elements, motivational phrases, and neon letters.

Oversized type mixed with neon accents. Location: NeoCon Conference 2018, Chicago, Illinois.

STUDIO EAGLE: How did attending NeoCon inspire your approach to upcoming projects?

Komel: It was a great way for me to take a 48 hour time-out from work to absorb new innovative designs and figure out how to incorporate them into my upcoming projects.

Last year I used almost every single product I learned about at NeoCon in a project!

I found it very useful to visualize how products are used in real time and space. It’s often challenging to get ideas of colors from just looking at a photo – when I could see color captured in a room, zone or space I was able to envision how to utilize it differently.

Arranging different samples of carpet. Location: NeoCon Conference 2018, Chicago, Illinois.

Attending the conference got me so excited for our upcoming projects! Overall, NeoCon provided me with an opportunity to rejuvenate my creativity, skills, and focus on the fun parts of design that I love so much.