Chicago—To further enhance the NeoCon experience and address the next frontier of flexible workplaces, the 51st edition will mark the launch of the NeoCon Plaza, a new outdoor amenity space that spans the length of The Mart’s South Drive.
Designed by Gensler Chicago and brought to life in collaboration with Forward Fruit Branded Environments, NeoCon Plaza will offer visitors a place to connect, collaborate, relax, recharge and unwind and enjoy the outdoors with a backdrop featuring sweeping views of the Chicago River, Riverwalk and Chicago cityscape. The NeoCon Plaza will be complemented by product introductions and programming throughout the overall show, offering attendees valuable insight into the importance of outdoor spaces for work and other commercial environments.
“An effective workplace is critical, but it’s no longer enough,” said Todd Heiser, managing director and principal of Gensler Chicago. “Employees want, and expect, an excellent experience at work, which means spaces with high levels of choice, variety and balance. Adding an outdoor element is another step in the evolution of choice and it is with this philosophy that we approached the NeoCon Plaza.”
Inspired by the idea of “The Urban Boardwalk,” the NeoCon Plaza provides a welcome outdoor oasis. Along the meandering boardwalk, which was built by Skender Construction, guests will find different sheltered and unsheltered spaces for work, meeting, gathering, rest, nourishment and celebration. The entire footprint of the outdoor environment features carpets made with Econyl regenerated and regenerable nylon created from waste including fishing nets and old carpets. All the carpet tile has been designed and supplied by Interface and is made with Econyl yarn.
Attendees will also enjoy a wide range of gourmet food and drink options for breakfast through evening created by Chef Michael Kornick of DMK, the restaurant group behind The Mart’s Marshall’s Landing. IIDA, the commercial interior design association, will be hosting a branded pop-up featuring smoothies and frozen drinks among other goodies.
“Social spaces are flexible, communal and inspiring, so people can pause, gather, connect and refresh,” said John Scott, senior workplace design strategist at Haworth. “And, for a lot of these areas, outside is the new in. In order to creatively develop solutions and reduce the stress in our work lives—go outside. The NeoCon Plaza will give attendees an immersive look into how these spaces can be successfully implemented.”