I've just returned from Neocon–a three day interior design conference attended by over 50,000 design professionals–and stepped back to determine the five biggest trends I saw on display from over 500 different companies at Chicago's Merchandise Mart. 1. ACOUSTICS Acoustic solutions for interior environments have went far beyond square wall panels and now include pillars, unique wall applications, room dividers and even light fixtures. [caption id="attachment_4716" align="aligncenter" width="474"] Bookshelf with acoustic panels by Snowsound. (Photo by Snowsound)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4700" align="aligncenter" width="461"] Buzzibell's Light Fixture also functions as acoustic panels.[/caption] 2. SPACE WITHIN A SPACE It's often critical to create multi-functional spaces in educational design in order to provide our clients with the most bang for their budget and their square footage. Neocon had plenty of furniture promoting modular function in one large room. Beyond educational spaces, the industry is shifting to "resi-mercial"–a blend of commercial and residential furnishings in the workplace. Technology has shifted and we're no longer tied to a desk, and resi-mercial design creates an environment promoting engagement and satisfaction while also helping companies attract young talent who are drawn to comfortable, flexible workspaces. [caption id="attachment_4706" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Hangout by Keilhauer.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4717" align="aligncenter" width="900"] MyPlace by KI offers spaces within a space. (Photo by KI)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4707" align="aligncenter" width="461"] Legola by Via Seating[/caption] 3. BRIGHT COLORS Neons and bright colors were the craze! Of course, all manufacturers are practical and realize bright colors don't work for every space so neutral colors were also included in the collection alongside some pretty, bright colors. The most common colors I saw beyond neutrals included blues, oranges and pinks. [caption id="attachment_4725" align="aligncenter" width="820"] Mannington color options.[/caption] 4. BOLD PATTERN In previous years flooring has been about true wood-look luxury vinyl tile (LVT), but 2016 Neocon made it clear we've shifted from natural flooring to more colors and bold patterns. [caption id="attachment_4702" align="aligncenter" width="615"] New Roppe LVT colors.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4703" align="aligncenter" width="615"] Some of Armstrong's new flooring color options.[/caption] 5. CHAIRS If one interior product dominated Neocon it was chairs. Crazy, cutting edge and just plain cool chairs were all throughout Neocon this year. The products often continued the theme of flexible spaces and acoustics, but other products were more playful (dog shaped chairs, chair-turned-coloring book, and even a jungle gym). Check out dna info's Neocon chair recap for the full scoop. [caption id="attachment_4704" align="aligncenter" width="461"] Buzzispace's Jungle Gym offers a variety of seating options in a playful environment.[/caption] Be sure to visit our Twitter feed to check out the videos I streamed during the event, including the Mohawk Showroom, Herman Miller Showroom, and an array of flooring on the seventh floor.