Interface: Nine Notable Trends at NeoCon 2021


After going virtual last year due to the pandemic, NeoCon was back in full swing in 2021, and several new trends – as well as new twists on existing movements – in commercial interior design were on display in Chicago. . The experts on new design directions at Interface have taken note. Nine new trends stood out.

Curves, curves, curves.

Among the clearest design motifs that dominated exhibition spaces this year were flowing lines and curvilinear shapes that can be used to add a soft feel and a new dimension to healthcare and office spaces. “Rounded arches, curved sofas, rounded back chairs, oval benches and coffee tables have continued to be prevalent as they have been in the recent past,” says Katherine Cohen, head of visual merchandising and marketing. photography for Interface. “The use of curves in wall graphics and circular or organic amoeba-shaped rugs have contributed to this trend,” says Andy Porter, manager of custom design at Interface, who notes that the FLOR brand Lunar ™ rug ® reflects this emphasis on curves and that the modular products can be custom cut with rounded lines to meet this design orientation.

FLOR’s Lunar rug features curved shapes like those seen in many NeoCon 2021 showrooms.

Emphasis on comfort.

The curved lines and shapes seen throughout the show reflect the larger trend of commercial spaces towards a sense of residential comfort. “One of the more exciting introductions to the market this year was a lightweight Pod tent from Steelcase that is made of a durable fabric with an aluminum frame and is available in various sizes,” Porter explains. “These privacy modules provide a feeling of visual separation in open workspaces that workers are likely to enjoy after spending so much time at home during the pandemic in areas with a lot of visual noise, they bring a welcome respite, some comfort. ”He also noted that a change in modular rugs in such comfort zones can improve distinctly defined zones like these. “Tents add definition to open spaces with enclosures that aren’t cabins and don’t really look like gates, but are rather well-designed, inviting and fun and provide a place to camp,” Cohen adds.

Warm, complex colors and clean palettes.

In keeping with the move towards comfort, a new wave of intricate colors in soft tones are poised to add extra warmth to a variety of indoor environments. “The mix of colors we saw is akin to what I would call a ‘desert palette’,” Cohen explains. “While oatmeal-colored linens reigned supreme as a neutral shade, warm terracotta or salmon tones are replacing oatmeal as new ‘neutrals’ for upholstery.” Porter also reports a new one. family of green vegetables – “mint, bay leaf and zucchini-rich tones” – as a color change emerges. Cohen agrees and predicts that the various pale greens, reminiscent of Sherwin Williams’ Evergreen Fog color, are likely to have a big time next year. She also saw some notes of sweet lavender. “Purple is expected as a cool color in fashion and home decor next year, and there’s been a dip in this trend with lilac hues so pale they were almost white,” she says. , noting that many of the new colors were touted as “monochromatic mixtures of shades of a color like celery with mint, forest green and emerald, or salmon, blush and rust” . Among the many Interface products that echo these color trends are Panola Mountain ™ from the new Granite Mountain ™ collection in Green Lichen, Blush Lichen and Rust Lichen, which mix several shades of one shade in a single pattern, as well as the Up Motif At Dawn ™ in the color Rhodium from the new Rising Signs ™ collection or the You’re So Vein ™ motif from FLOR in Spice Silver.

The Panola Mountain style of Interface’s new Granite Mountain collection incorporates soft green undertones, which are an emerging color trend.

An emphasis on mobility and resilience.

New tools, like Steelcase’s lightweight kettlebell-style Flex Mobile Power units, were among the devices that offered increased resilience and flexibility to open-plan office spaces, Cohen notes. “There was also an increase in small, semi-permanent spaces that offered a bit of acoustic privacy or pergola-style structures that provide an enclosure feel,” Porter adds, noting that many Interface products are available with a TacTiles® installation system that supports this trend and can meet the need to change soil landscapes into spaces designed for flexibility.

Green and less green organic elements.

A further extension of the biophilic qualities that have been commonly deployed in commercial environments in recent years has focused not only on green walls and live plants, but also on dried plants and flower arrangements. “Dried plants, especially pampas grass, with its sandy gray coloring and large plumes of down puffy like ostrich feathers add an extra dimension to the warm neutrals we see now,” Porter adds.

Dried flowers and plants were common showroom props at NeoCon 2021.

A new approach to style and sustainable solutions.

Sustainability remains a strong theme in business environments. “There were more lasting messages than ever before,” says Cohen. And manufacturers have been looking for creative ways to keep the story of sustainability up to date. “I’ve seen a growing number of ways to recycle materials,” says Porter, who mentions the Allsteel Bit stool made from single-use industrial and household plastics. “They had a unique terrazzo quality that almost looked like confetti,” he says.

With Interface’s entire flooring portfolio carbon neutral through its Carbon Neutral Floors ™ program, it’s no wonder that Cohen and Porter were delighted to note that other companies were showing off neutral products in carbon in NeoCon, like the Swurve chair by Keilhauer. “At Interface, we aim to reverse global warming, but we know we can’t do it on our own. It’s always great to see other interior design companies innovating with the environment in mind, ”Porter said.

Layered patterns and prints.

A handful of patterns and prints have stood out as style designers this year. “A lot of the fabrics featured funky cutout shapes that looked like someone going wild with scissors and mixing them up as collages,” says Cohen, who notes that FLOR’s Terrain ™ product reflects this trend. “Others were woven or printed with scribbled lines like cave marks and there were prints from Madras as well.”

FLOR’s Terrain style, which is inspired by abstract art, is reminiscent of a collage.

Hot materials.

The spirit of warmth and texture is also evident in the materials. “There was a lot of wood with reed qualities, like rattan, bamboo, and wicker, in lighter colors, there was no dark wood,” Cohen explains. Metals were also warm with a continued emphasis on brass hardware. “I saw a lot of little touches of gold in the accents and accessories,” Porter adds.

Retro and residential touches.

Extending a strong residential sense of softness and comfort, Porter and Cohen both saw reassuring nods to the past, with furnishings that echoed mid-century style. “Some showrooms featured Scandinavian-inspired furnishings with rounded shapes and blond woods and gorgeous fabrics like velvet that gave off a subtle retro nostalgic feeling,” Porter explains. “The curved elements and warm tones evoked a sense of belonging or being enveloped in comfort,” adds Cohen.

Whether emphasizing nature, nostalgia, coziness or warmth, the new directions in furniture and finishes presented at NeoCon 2021 clearly reflect the impact of the pandemic on commercial design. There is no doubt that trade show attendees and exhibitors were excited to be back in Chicago, and with the next NeoCon just six months away, the experts at Interface are eager to see which of these trends are here to stay. and which will evolve with the changing world. around us.


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