Our Favorites From NeoCon 2022

Earlier this month, we traveled to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to see what’s new and upcoming in commercial design at NeoCon 2022. A few trends were easy to spot: acoustic walls, privacy booths and screens, and furniture that attempts to break down the wall between the office and home. There was a clear focus on accepting that we don’t know when things will go back to normal or what “normal” will look like when they do – so embrace the in-between. Take a look at some of our favorites from this year’s show.

two colorful chairs sit in the hallway in front of a furniture showroom

Andreu World

Sustainable design brand Andreu World had a showroom full of impressive furniture – it was even leaking out into the busy hallway. Lots of seating was organized into small configurations that you could admire or use to take a break, including their new Nuez Lounge BIO front and center.

two colorful chairs sit in the hallway in front of a furniture showroom

Andreu World, Nuez Lounge BIO

five pieces of furniture sit in the hallway in front of a showroom

Andreu World

colorful patterned space with abstract pieces of furniture

Arc|Com x House Industries Glyph Collection

Nothing makes a bigger statement than the unexpected, which is why I fell hard for the Glyph Collection from Arc|Com and House Industries. Patterns were created using House’s typography designs, then objects shaped like those same designs were covered in the upholstery!

curvaceous pink and maroon sofa in front of wall of black and white images


There’s something about Cumberland that seemed to physically pull me into their showroom. The large curvaceous couch, vibrant colors, and downplayed black and white walls made for the perfect design storm. While a lot of couches in similar shapes feature high backs, I love that this one has a shorter one with a flat surface that can be used.

back view of several red and grey wire-framed rocking chairs in black booth

EGOE life, HPE100 Rocking Chair

The learning solutions at this year’s show really wowed me, including EGOE life’s HPE100 Rocking Chair. It’s solid metal construction gives weight and definition, while the slight rocking movement it’s capable of producing is great for individuals with ADHD.

geometric framed wall art


Greenmood’s Framed are a unique take on wall panels that use reindeer moss and large oak frames. They’re available in four collections: Geometric, Landscape, Synergy, and Harmony. You can hang them in any direction and their depths make for a lovely place to daydream.

display of felt privacy screens


FUNC’s products make me wish (just a little bit) that I were going back to work in an office. Their screens, in particular, offer visual privacy as well as some sound dampening. A few models can be opened and closed, depending on what’s needed at the time.

large light pink sectional sofa with throw pillows and occasional tables with two large pieces of fiber art hanging above it


Hightower’s showroom is a masterpiece where I’d be happy to live. I had several favorite pieces this year, including the Kona Sofa (above) and the Proto Highback Lounge (below). The entire space is expertly designed with an unmatched vibe of relaxed but productive pieces.

pink high back swivel chair, end table, and black stool


black chair with arms and woof legs

Keilhauer, Melete

Not just any minimal chair, Keilhauer’s Melete is special. While it comes with or without arms, the stingray-like shape of the armed version is poetic. You may not even notice them right away, but once you do it’s difficult to look away. It can be personalized with a range of finishes and bases.

retro shaped office pod with seat and desk in pink display booth


In a show that was full of privacy pods, Loop’s stood out to me. Its small, but impressive, booth showcased two of their pods that have a fun, yet sophisticated, retro feel to them. The pink floor, pink walls, and ceiling covered in hanging pink telephone receivers made for a real showstopper (they’ve got the award to prove it, too).

origami-like chair, bench, and stool in light wood


You might think that each of these pieces from Nienkämper look uncomfortable, but I can guarantee that they are, in fact, the opposite. I was fully prepared to be letdown by the deceivingly simple structures, but their clean lines and functionality won me over in a big way.

three armchairs on yellow and maroon pedestals in front of wood acoustic wall

Scandinavian Spaces

A brand that never disappoints is Scandinavian Spaces. Their showroom included a bevy of modern seating options and other furniture, each defining their principle of wellness in the workplace. The collection of smart solutions shows an obviously thoughtful design process with results that would be just as lovely in your own space.

green curvy tufted sofa and two playful white armchairs

Scandinavian Spaces

dark blue room covered in acoustic felt with upholstered chair and side table


And lastly, TURF. I’m not stretching the truth when I say that their artful wall acoustics are the best I’ve seen. They’re easy to use and adapt to – I got the full experience in one of their beautiful rooms that was dedicated to relaxing for a moment. The amount of sound that was drowned out of a busy showroom was truly amazing.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.