NeoCon unveils 2023 trend forecast

Home Commercial NeoCon unveils 2023 trend forecast

Chicago—NeoCon opens for its 54th edition here at The Mart June 12-14, 2023, offering tens of thousands of attendees an insider look into the driving forces behind design progress and what will shape shared spaces next. Through future-forward programming and with hundreds of exhibitors, the NeoCon show floors will offer an immersive display of what designers and specifiers should consider when creating a better built environment—from generational design, ESG prioritization, to technology integration and global perspectives.

Following is NeoCon’s 2023 trend forecast, highlighting some of the most impactful trends shaping today’s offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and healthcare facilities, as well as a selection of product highlights from NeoCon 2023 exhibitors that underscore the impact of good design.

trend forecast
Reed by Turf, Tate by OFS; Flote by Hightower Group; Sia Task Chair by Boss Design; Bay Lounge by Poltrona Frau – a Haworth Company; La Duna by Martin Brattrud; and LifeSpan Ampera Office Bike by LifeSpan Fitness.

Designing across generations

With Gen Z projected to make up a third of the workforce by 2025 (Manpower Group, 2023 Workforce Trends Report), and older generations retiring later, designers, facility managers and other specifiers must cater to an expanding community with diverse needs and expectations. Human connection, well-being and consistent comfort have emerged as priorities for both younger generations looking to establish smart habits and older generations seeking physical longevity as well as a vibrant and active career. As a result, there is a demand for spaces and products that offer opportunities to connect and collaborate while also allowing users to accommodate their personal wellness goals and feel more balanced.

Laura Leung, designer for IA Architects, predicted that intentionality and authenticity will be key factors in designing for the younger generations, especially in the office. “When the two concepts of intentionality and authenticity are applied to workplace design, the result is an environment that encourages meaningful collaboration, camaraderie and the organization’s key values, as well as the unique identities of its employees,” she said. “The intentional workplace considers all aspects of the design—from layout to lighting to acoustics to ergonomics—ensuring an enjoyable, memorable and healthy environment tuned to user needs and requirements. Intentionality and authenticity are catalysts for each other at the heart of an organization.”

design trends
Zody LX Chair by Haworth; BlockO Four and Six by Blocko.Design; Quiet Riot by Wolf Gordon; Blume Chair by Frovi’ and Armstrong Flooring Natralis Collection from AHF Products.

Creating with a conscience: Prioritizing ESG

Increased education and visibility around not only humanitarian issues in production but also the harmful environmental impact of many companies’ business practices, has led to an uptick in prioritizing ESG principles in what we build, purchase and use. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)’s 2023 Trends Outlook notes the public does notice and care when a company does not uphold environmental, social and governance principles and ideals. A recent survey showed that a majority of respondents would actually take actionable steps against a company they felt was disregarding ESG issues. Manufacturers that demonstrate a sense of social purpose and a commitment to good stewardship of the planet take center stage over those whose design and developmental practices avoid these important humanitarian tenets.

trend forecast
Neuron Activation Pod by Thinkspace; The Tilt! by QOR360; DPI by LINAK; HiQ by SitonitSeating; Ascari by Nucraft; 3D Visualizer by Patcraft; and Nura Space by Schiavello.

Technology to provide solutions

As game-changing technologies emerge, companies across all verticals are leveraging these advancements to help improve their user experience—from customer satisfaction to employee engagement. The integration of emerging technologies within products has become increasingly crucial, addressing issues such as virtual fatigue, ergonomic optimization, hybrid workspaces, physical well-being, productivity and creativity stimulation and the creation of inclusive environments.

Gensler’s 2023 Design Forecast noted that recent and projected technological advances in product development can improve accessibility and equity. The report noted: “Products conceived with meaningful consideration for dexterity, body fit and ADA compliance can significantly enhance workplace inclusivity. Touchless workstations, advanced display panels and other tech-enhanced products will help write the next chapter for equity in the workplace. Concepts that used to reside only in science fiction are now real tools unlocking equal access where it once was impossible.”

design trends
Ocular Table by Steelcase; Toko by Nienkamper; Ralik by Arper; Vida by Davis Furniture; and Optic by Halcon.

Globalization brings us closer

Technology has also allowed the world to feel more connected and, as a result, brands and companies are taking a more global perspective. Trends and news can now reach a wider, more international audience, and companies can now hire talent from all over the world. Improvements in Web3 technology have allowed design firms like IA Architects, Spaceform and Decent Architecture to build out virtual office extensions for workers to utilize around the globe and products are designed to reflect the changing demands of a more interconnected, digital age.

Brooke Horan, Principal at HDR, recently listed globalization as an important trend for the future of work. “With our increased ability to connect virtually across so many time zones and countries, companies continue to become more global,” she said. “To future-proof their organizations and stay competitive, they need to stay on top of new technologies that help create consistent, supported workflows across continents and multiple cities. They need to offer flexible environments conducive to constant change, uncertainty and the more diverse nature of multinational business practices.”

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