Like Chris, I too visited IIDEX/NeoCon on Thursday. Since my first year of interior design school 20 years ago, I’ve been a regular IIDEX attendee: my impression this year is that the economic downturn has definitely had a negative impact on the number of suppliers exhibiting. Big industry players were absent, companies like office furniture manufacturers Knoll, Herman Miller and Global, paint companies like Benjamin Moore, Para and Pittsburgh and laminate suppliers like Wilsonart, Arborite and Formica.
My designer friends also remarked at the reduced number of vendors, although they acknowledged that IIDEX provides an essential opportunity to connect with supplier reps and industry colleagues, to build relationships and to see the latest innovations in the world of contract design (generally considered to be the design of hotels, offices, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and other commercial projects).
One such innovation is Teknion’s collaboration with Powermat in the development of a hidden power source imbedded in a workstation surface that can wirelessly charge a mobile device. Powermat also comes in portable models, above, and will be available to the marketplace later this year, with a version for laptops also on the horizon.
Another innovation, media:scape from global office furniture leader Steelcase, is touted as furniture and technology that supplies a ‘walk-up and connect experience’ and reinforces the continuing trend in office design of encouraging a collaborative work environment. The design of the workspace supports teamwork by allowing content from any of the connected laptops to easily be displayed on and shared via the main monitor.
The i2i chair, below, also promotes collaboration in addition to comfort – the chair’s back and seat swivel independently allowing users to respond to the moment while maintaining focus. I took a test drive and found the dual swivel quite effective, and I left the show dreaming of how great these inventive pieces would be in my own office.