NeoCon 2006
by / June 15, 2006

Joshua Wentz, graphic designer and podcaster aficionado, sends us this report from the NeoCon show. "NeoCon is a full-spectrum product showcase for architects and interior designers, held in the massive Merchandise Mart, Chicago's premiere showroom space. The product array is vast but heavily corporate, so finding striking furniture pieces or boundary-pushing concepts is a little bit harder than at the delicious ICFF show.". See more images and Joshua's commentary after the jump. Thanks Joshua!

1. Art of Interaction Pavillion
The ground floor of the Mart contains Gensler's interactive exhibit "The Art of Interaction". A central ellipse contains a touch-sensitive floor that creates a light-boundary around each person that enters. The more people inside, the more complicated the framework becomes. On the outside, each column is wrapped with a question about collaboration, and visitors are invited to answer the questions in red Sharpie.

2. United Nude
Rem Koolhaas has become a household name in making fashion out of architecture. Apparently his son, Rem D. Koolhaas, has been going the other direction. United Nude launched in 2003 with its "Mobius Shoe" and has created an entire line of shoes, several of which spring conceptually from architectural design. The Mobius originated from Mies van der Rohe's "Barcelona Chair" and through modulations and reformations in (what I assume is) Maya, ends in a derivation of the Mobius strip. Also of note is the "Eamz" shoe, a ridiculous (but fun) take on one of the standard Eames chair bases.

3. Nood/URBNoptmst
I first noticed one of Nood's floor covering products, "Spork", at Gensler's entry pavilion- a tufted nylon flooring more comfortable and palatable than the fake grass one might see adorning the porch of a small, midwestern house (complete with vinyl folding picnic chairs). Premiering at NeoCon is Urban Optimist, a carpet line from Nood designed by Tricycle. Complementing their eco-friendly production/distribution methodology (they made it clear to me that they don't do sample books), Urban Optimist is a decay/reconstruction motif patterned after cracked sidewalk and invasive urban vegetation. Color-customizeable and and extremely refreshing change to most corporate floor designs.

4. Tricycle/Reverb
It seemed that the most noticeable booths were also sporting the environmental angle, though I must say that pumping Radiohead and having a smashing booth-design is nice too. Take Tricycle; other than designing Urban Optimist and working with Pixar and Penny Bonday, they've been busy composing "Reverb", their one-off annual report on sustainability. Featuring articles by the likes of Katie Weeks, Carlie Bullock-Jones, and Caleb Ludwick (among others), "Reverb" is tightly composed and graphically inquisitive. 50% of the books proceeds go to Architecture for Humanity.

5. Brit Bench by Simon Pengelly for Leland Int'l
Amongs the sea of walnut office furniture and Aeron wannabes I spotted the Brit Bench. Designed for Leland International by Simon Pengelly, this seat was designed as a modular unit for molecular space planning. Each bench can be connected in numerous configurations by a smaller connector piece, and apparently there's also a table add-on which can be installed in the center of each bench. Leland allows the designer to spec any textile for the bench and the connector piece independently.

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