A few weeks ago, two of our interior designers Cindy Nagel and Leanne Tanguay headed to the Windy City to take in new interior products and trends at NeoCon 2016. They sat down to tell us the best of the best, what to expect in design and the best places to visit the next time you’re in Chicago.


What product/display would you give the 2016 Best of Neocon award to?

Leanne Tanguay: My all-time favorite was the 3Form rotating translucent color disk panels.

Cindy Nagel: Me too! We were really impressed; it was simple but dynamic.

Leanne Tanguay: I also was able to use the product pictures from the showroom right when I came back for a design charrette, which was really great!


What product do you most look forward to utilizing in an upcoming design?

LT: I really loved the Corning® Willow glass. It is a 0.1 millimeter thick glass – it was incredibly thin, strong and flexible. It can also be printed on both sides which gives so many options.

CN: Zintra came out with a polyester acoustical panel made of from recycled bottles that offers many application options. Even though I was familiar with the product, seeing it used in so many new applications inspired a solution for a current project we’re working on – you have to love that!


What was your favorite part about the event?

CN: There was so much to like! For me, it was a walk down memory lane – I hadn’t been to NeoCon in years. We had great “NeoCon karma” because everything just worked out seamlessly in our favor from waiting lines to cabs to weather.

LT: Identifying the color trends, shapes and styles was so exciting! I love seeing what changed from last year and having those ‘aha’ moments.

CN: An attendee at dinner one night mentioned that for him Neocon is looking for the true innovators. Over the next two days this kept coming to mind as repetitive themes emerged. We had our eyes open for those original concepts.

LT: Yes and we both had that “aha” moment at DIRTT – overhead bins that moved up and down with a height-adjustable work surfaces.  The bins were attached to a slot embedded in a DIRTT wall, which allowed them to move as one. With everything height adjustable now, it makes so much sense to have upper cabinets support that too.


 NeoCon is held in Chicago, what restaurant wins your vote for best design?

LT: For me, Cindy’s Rooftop was hands down the ‘look at this, look at that, let’s go check that out’ place. There was so much detail and so much to look at and I loved that it was a modern space carved out of an older building.

CN: And they had a beautiful view of Millennium Park!

LT: Oh! And the awesome Interface Carpet art installation in the elevator lobby of Morgan MFG. They had movie clips of heavy polluted areas and as you walked up; your shadow caused the image to change to a nature scene. Usually social commentary takes the stance that humans create the pollution and destroy the earth; it was really cool that this one took a different stance and showed that human interaction can bring renewal.

CN: For me, it’s a toss-up between the Dawson and Beatrix. Beatrix is quirky – the chairs are a mix of all colors and styles – it was a funky mix and so fun! The Dawson was in this cool reclaimed space and they had a great patio. Clean, simple, and beautiful – and the menu was great too!


What is your favorite spot to visit in Chicago as a designer? 

LT: For me, it is the lobby of the Merchandise Mart. I always go, I love it. This year I thought the most innovative thing they showcased was this BuzziJungle by BuzziSpace, which was basically an adult jungle gym. I loved seeing people light up and want to go climb on it.

CN: There is something about Chicago – this epicenter for design – there is so much beautiful detail integrated all through the city. I liked visiting the restaurants and venues that reps chose and different party venues. We went to so many places we wouldn’t have normally gone and to see different parts of the city was such a memorable experience!