Posts tagged with "NeoCon":

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Quick Clicks> Solar Butterflies, Parks Over Parking, Killer Commutes, and Nearly NeoCon

Solar Butterflies. Engadget spotted Dutch designer Jeroen Verhoeven's chandelier made of 500 butterflies cut from photovoltaic cells. Called the "Virtue of Blue," the light glows softly at night. (Via Psfk.) Capitol Green. New York isn't the only city replacing asphalt with greener, more pedestrian friendly streetscapes. According to DC Mud, a block of C Street in Washington, D.C. between two federal office buildings is set for a makeover. Plans call for creating a park on what's currently a large parking lot. Killer Commutes. Slate writer Annie Lowrey tells us what we already know: commuting isn't fun. She goes on to explain the consequences of many-an-American's daily burden: "Long commutes cause obesity, neck pain, loneliness, divorce, stress, and insomnia." Nearly NeoCon. Haworth Partners announced that they have partnered with Crate & Barrel. The table and two chairs will be available beginning in July and August. More at otto.
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New at NeoCon

We'll see you in Chicago at the show—while you're there, remember to pick up a copy of our latest Midwest edition, hot off the press! Until then, we offer you a sneak peek of our favorite finds from this year's contract furnishings market: Bram Boo Bench, VanerumStelter Belgian designer Bram Boo’s bench fosters socialization, rest, and work all in one piece of furniture. Four seats arranged in a square create four desktops and multiple ways to face others. The bench is available in red and black.
Dama Coffee Table, CR&S Poliform The Dama Coffee Table by CR&S adapts to a range of room configurations and styles. The seamless, solid-wood table is approximately 13 by 18 inches and is available in canaletto walnut and cedarwood finishes.
Seek, Allsteel Allsteel’s Seek lightweight chair has three storage configurations, allowing it to be stacked and nested without racks or trolleys. Available in eight colors with optional arms and a cushioned seat, a flexing back and ergonomic design make it a more comfortable folding chair, and a healthier one, too. Seek is expected to qualify for SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification for air quality.
Lyra Collection, KI The Lyra collection from KI aims to fill a gap between formal and informal furniture. Bases are available in wood or steel, along with several upholstery combinations, allowing the lounge chairs, loveseats, and tables to adapt to modern or traditional environments.
Curio Table, Bernhardt Design Designed by Claudia and Harry Washington for Bernhardt Design, the Curio table is available in bright or muted lacquered colors, but also in a range of natural wood finishes for a more reserved look. The beveled top is available in 19-, 22-, and 42-inch diameters and is sturdy enough to accommodate a glass or Corian surface for high-traffic areas.
Urban Metallics, Carnegie The Urban Metallics collection is Carnegie’s newest addition to its Surface IQ wall-covering line of PVC-free surfaces that use only water-based inks and coatings, but still have high abrasion resistance and tolerance for bleach-based cleaners. The line includes a variety of metallic patterns and scales (Midas is pictured), each of which are Cradle to Cradle Silver certified.
Frost, Chilewich Contract Frost is an industrially-derived surface available in three shimmering shades, Black, Topaz, and Mineral, with a transparent fiber coating that changes the surface’s appearance depending on lighting direction. With the appropriate backing material, Frost can be used in a variety of ways including as wall-to-wall and tile flooring, floor mats, wall covering, and upholstery fabric.
Rodarte Textiles, Knoll Luxe Knoll’s luxury fabric division collaborated with fashion house Rodarte to create five upholstery and three drapery patterns named after poets and inspired by the fashion house’s runway collections. Auden (pictured) is an ombre pattern printed digitally on woven raffia and is available in four colorways.
Vein Cut Onyx, Stone Source Vein Cut Onyx from Stone Source is available in white or green, each with natural vein patterns and translucency. The 2-centimeter-thick slabs can be used for interior walls and counters, but are not recommended for kitchen countertops.
Enea Lottus Table, Coalesse Designed by Barcelona-based design trio Lievore Altherr Molina for Enea of Spain, Lottus tables are available in the full range of Coalesse veneer and laminate colors, with four complementary colors for the painted metal base. Four heights and diameters from 30 to 72 inches allow the table to fit a range of spaces and match several seating options, including Lottus chairs and stools.
Sava, Stylex Sava Cvek’s new design for Stylex is a multitask chair that combines engineering and aesthetics to create a versatile design. The chair is available with task or conference arms with a high or mid-back design with mesh or upholstered finishes and low-profile paddles to control height, tension, seat depth, and tilt.
DR Desk, Jofco Claudio Bellini’s DR desk design for Italian manufacturer Frezza combines a simple table with a carefully designed desk and storage element. The desk’s legs are carved entirely from solid walnut wood, creating a striking contrast to optional glasswork surfaces and painted drawers.
Flow Bench, Arktura Designed by LA-based Chris Kabatsi, the Flow Bench from Arktura is formed from eco-composite materials that are suitable for residential and commercial interiors. Available in orange, black, and white, the bench is 72 inches long, and next year will be joined by Kabatsi’s similarly fluid Squall coffee table.
FCB Series, Sedia Systems Herzog and de Meuron designed Sedia Systems’ FCB Series of stadium seats as a flexible option for arenas, auditoriums, and classrooms. The line includes fixed shell or gravity uplift seats and four upholstered VIP seats, with optional flip-up desk system and a slender profile designed to maximize aisle space.
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Best of (Trade) Show

Recognizing the top new contract product and furnishings introduced at this year’s NeoCon Trade Show, the Best of NeoCon 2009 Awards named 74 products winners of the prestigious award. A total of 280 products were entered in 40 different categories, ranging from carpets and flooring to lighting, furniture, and textile design. This year’s jury was comprised of 42 corporate, government, and institutional facilities management executives, interior designers, and architects, who are responsible for selecting and buying furniture and furnishings for their specific organizations or clients. A full list of this year’s winners and entrants can be found online at (registration required). This year’s Gold Awards Winners are: Architectural Products Botania, Skyline Design Carpet: Broadloom Wool, Shaw Contract Group Carpet: Modular (tiles) Wool, Shaw Contract Group Case Goods: Desks and Credenzas Denizen, Coalesse Education Solutions Dewey by Fixtures Furniture, izzy+ Flooring: Hard-Surface UltiMetal, Crossville Flooring: Resilient Space, Johnsonite Healthcare Furniture Health-First Infection Control Centers, Peter Pepper Products Healthcare Fabrics Now & Zen Woven Agion Collection, cf stinson Healthcare Seating Graduation Push Back Recliner, Cabot Wrenn Healthcare Textiles Midori Collection, Arc-Com Lighting: Decorative: Chandeliers, Pendants, Sconces Light Art, 3form Lighting: Specialty: Fiber Optic, LED, Remote-Source Twist, The Be Collection by Herman Miller, Inc. Lighting: Task/Desktop, Furniture-Integrated Element, Humanscale for Hospitality Office Accessories M2 Monitor Arm, Humanscale Seating: Conference Setu, Herman Miller, Inc. Seating: Ergonomic Desk/Task Generation by Knoll, Knoll Seating: Guest Solace Chair, HBF Seating: Sofas and Lounge Elle, Loewenstein Seating: Stacking Vili, Gunlocke Software Technologies GreenGenie, Armstrong Ceilings & Wall Systems Surfacing Materials Dreamwalls Color Glass, Dreamwalls Color Glass Tables: Conference AERO Conferencing Series, CCN International Tables: Occasional Campfire Paper Table, Turnstone Tables: Training Zii Drive, Surface Works Technology Support Powermat, Powermat Textiles: Drapery Air Rights, Knoll Textiles Textiles: Upholstery The Campion Platt Collection, HBF Textiles Wall Treatments Digital Projects, Maharam Worksurfaces: Height-Adjustable Planes Height-Adjustable Tables, Haworth Workplace Technologies DC FlexZone Ceiling Systems, Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Systems      
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A Few Bright Satellites

In recent years, the proliferation of satellite events at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair has grown robust enough to compete for the attention of fair-goers. Now, a handful of young designers have identified a parallel void surrounding NeoCon in Chicago, and this week, they mounted The Promise of This Moment: Objects that Augment the Everyday, a group exhibition including work from 14 Chicago-based designers.

Sponsored by The Object Design League and curated by The Mighty Bearcats, a design collective started in 2006 by Bryan Metzdorf, Steve Haulenbeek, and Jason Chernak, the show takes its cue, according to Chernak, from their intrigue with reports of the “lipstick effect,” the recession phenomenon of people buying small things that offer a sense of luxury under financial constraint.

As the show’s subtitle suggests, there’s a departure here from the material interpretation of “the everyday”—where common materials are recontextualized, as has been popular both in a post-Droog era and amid conversations about sustainability—and an attention to objects that bring levity to rote, quotidian activities.

Greg Bethel designed a soft rubber water-bottle cap in the shape of a faucet handle, evoking both the humorous connotation of water bottles as portable spigot, and the historical collision of current habits with archetypical models. The Teton Blanket, by Mighty Bearcat member Metzdorf, turns an unmade bed into a sculptural statement: Fabric reinforced with Pelon, typically used for shirt cuffs and collars, creates a composed topography no matter how casually the blanket is cast aside. And with Materious’ oversized ceiling-mounted tassel, the MASTER SWITCH, pulling the tassel sends radio signals to nearby power outlets, turning on whatever appliances are plugged in, lending theatrical flair to one’s sense of household command. The piece that most directly touches on the show’s economic underpinnings is Garrett Smith’s Trickle Down, a basic vacuum-formed plastic container meant to filter out the change from the other detritus left in your pocket at the end of the day. While many of the show’s inclusions intervene in domestic space, one of its standout pieces is also the only nod to the presence object designers could have in territory more typically defined by architects and urban planners: Michael Savona’s Goose Cones playfully reconfigures orange construction cones as a line of crossing geese. The Promise of This Moment, a phrase taken from President Obama’s first speech on the economy, clearly aligns with the curators’ vision for the exhibition, but also suggests something about the overarching mood of the Chicago designers involved. Coproduced by the Object Design League (ODL), an initiative launched this spring by Caroline Linder and Lisa Smith, two recent graduates of the Design Objects masters program at the School of the Art Institute, this show is ODL’s first foray into exhibition programming. According to Smith, ODL aims to “become a resource for independent designers,” and if the response in membership and event attendance they’ve seen in just a few short months is any indication, this show will be the first of more to come.

Both the ODL and a number of the designers included in The Promise of This Moment made an appearance in another satellite event Tuesday night called the Guerrilla Furniture and Art Truck Show. It was the biggest turnout in the event’s five-year history, with 28 designers showing their work from the back of U-Haul trucks parked for a few hours near Morlen Sinoway’s design shop in the Fulton Market. Despite periodic sheets of rain, intrepid design connoisseurs came out in good numbers to see what Sinoway, the event’s founder, described as “something formed out of the necessity for young designers to have the opportunity to show.”

The Object Design League, perhaps because it functions more as a platform for designers than a venue for production, decided to forego a truck altogether, and find a way, as Smith described, “to be a spatial presence.” Using their logo as a base, ODL members Thom Moran, Eric Rosenbaum, and Mingli Chang built an inflatable, inhabitable, spherical polygon, nearly 10 feet in diameter, from little more than Tyvek and duct tape. Inside, the atmosphere was something like teepee meets geodesic dome on a construction site. As for the origin of the logo? “We wanted something generic that could come to mean something through community and history,” said Moran.

There’s a resonance between these two events that hints at how that community and history is poised to take shape: through curiosity, humor, and commitment to design.

Check out The Promise of This Moment through June 22, by appointment at 312-560-1532.

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NeoCon Notables

The mood was noticeably subdued at this year’s NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago, which ends today, but many attractive and innovative new products were introduced. For our special Midwest issue we offered a preview of things to look for at the show. Here are a few additional products that stood out at the Merchandise Mart. LIM lighting, Haworth Designed by Pablo Pardo of Pablo Design and the Haworth Design Studio, LIM is an ultra thin aluminum LED task light. LIM is available in desktop, slot or panel mount, and floor-based versions, and is 85 percent more efficient than comparable incandescent lamps. The minimal design keeps sightlines unobstructed and desktops uncluttered. Setu chair, Herman Miller The profile of the new Setu chair evokes the classic Eames Aluminum Group seating, but the plastic spine—polyester to be exact—bends and tilts with the body, unlike the more rigid Eames design. Designed by Berlin-based Studio 7.5, Setu’s spine also includes a high level of recycled content, and is one of the more affordable multipurpose chairs in its class and weighs less than 20 pounds. It is designed for office and home office settings, and includes versions with and without arms, as well as an ottoman and lounge version. It is available to the trade now and will be sold at retail stores beginning in September. Denizen case goods, Coalesse In keeping the Coalesse’s idea of blurring the boundaries between home and office furnishings, the Denizen case goods system brings a distinctly residential feel to private offices. The series, which includes a secretary, tables, benches, towers, overhead storage and display storage, is available in oak, teak, and ash gray. Designed by WilliamsSorel, Denizen’s strong lines and high quality materials make it appropriate for a office/guest rooms or living areas. Stride office system, Allsteel Many of the office systems at NeoCon had clean, horizon lines (unlike all those curvy systems aimed at tech start-ups in the early 2000s), but one of the best looking was Stride from Allsteel. The surfaces have a thin outer edge, but are actually thick and sturdy, thanks to a stepped back design. The system is a kit of parts that can be adapted to a variety of configurations, from traditional cubicles to shared more, open arrangements. Available in a variety of materials, the painted wood storage units in particular feel more like furniture than parts of an office system.