Notes from NeoCon 2021: Workspace flexibility, adaptability top trends list

Notes from NeoCon 2021: Workspace flexibility, adaptability top trends list

As the commercial interiors industry came together in person once again in early October for NeoCon 2021, Apogee Consulting Group’s interiors team was busy taking notes on the top trends impacting the shared spaces of the future.   

“One of the other biggest trends is still flexibility and adaptability,” says Interiors Department Manager, Erica Irvin, RID, NCIDQ, LEED AP, IIDA. “With Covid, the need for this was brought about with people working from home and having to come back to the office with a new mindset of special separation. We’re seeing open office add dividers back in materials such as glass to acoustics but with adjustability. Having the flexibility to create the space you need for an individual’s privacy is one of the largest trends in workplace design.”

The biggest healthcare trend noted by Irvin, who specialized in healthcare design, is recovery design, or the creation of spaces that are highly flexible. “A room could be exam room one day, then adapted for telehealth the next, or consulting room,” Irvin said. “This translates to universal casework and universal furniture.”

Other takeaways from this year’s show, which returned to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, is the robust rise of resimercial design, which brings the feel of home to the workplace, the creation of comfortable group spaces, and the incorporation of biophilic design into everything.

“Everything is going back to nature,” Irvin said, “from flooring to furniture with soft wood tones and soft colors in keeping with the organic form of products.”

Other notable trends:

  • Healthcare finishes are becoming more antimicrobial and able to withstand harsh chemical cleaning.
  • In flooring, the trend was organic patterns and, abstract patterns but staying with the nature theme but not literal.
  • Still very popular is the simplified Scandinavian look with little hardware and soft curvy forms.
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Media relations contact: Liz Switzer


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