Weekly Editorial

Your Guide to Chicago Continues

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, OI Publications • June 3, 2024

The Insider_Weekly_editorial_image_6.3.2024

Next week at this time, NeoCon and Design Days will be underway in Chicago. In this week’s issue of officeinsight magazine, you can find a story about my annual walk-through of THE MART where I outline some new exhibitors and building updates.

In last week’s Insider column, I offered some suggestions of events, entertainment and eats outside your time exploring NeoCon and Design Days. This week, let’s focus on some of the events and showrooms at THE MART that are must-visits.

For those in town on Friday, ThinkLab’s Amanda Schneider is presenting a Manufacturer Keynote that delves into transformative challenges reshaping our industry, unveiling groundbreaking insights from their latest research. The event takes place at 3 p.m. in the NeoCon Presentation Studio at WorkLife Meetings and is followed by a reception sponsored by INDEAL (use this link to register). 

On the tenth floor, in its new 10,000 sq foot showroom, exhibitor INDEAL (1086) is hosting the INDEAL Connection Hub, which will include a coffee bar to kick-start each day of NeoCon, as well as space to sit and take meetings. There will also be presentations by INDEAL and its partners, including a design panel discussion with officeinsight magazine publisher, Bob Beck. All attendees are welcome to attend the official NeoCon Happy (Together Hour) Tuesday after the show ends, co-sponsored by INDEAL and officeinsight — and enjoy live music and complimentary cocktails on River Park.

I’m impressed with what My Resource Library (showroom 1191) has done to help unify manufacturers’ reps. MRL will once again have a showroom that will serve as a destination for manufacturers and trade professionals to connect and share fresh ideas. MRL also hosts a hot party Monday offsite (wrist bands, which can be obtained at the MRL showroom, are needed for entry to the party).

The BIFMA Breakfast will take place on Wednesday morning (register at http://BIFMA.org). BIFMA members and all conference attendees will have the opportunity to network and gain valuable insight into “Trends in Government Workplace Strategy,” which the organization will present.

NeoCon programming includes keynote presentations by three excellent speakers: Gensler’s Global Entertainment Leader Bob Weis, multi-disciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori, and Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter. It can be hard to fit these keynotes in, but the keynotes I’ve attended in the past have been excellent.

Curated by journalist and CEU content creator Kenn Busch, founder of Material Intelligence and Climate Positive NOW, the Climate Solutions Gallery will feature low-carbon and carbon-negative materials and related technologies. It is an important topic and should be on everyone’s calendar.

IIDA’s Celebration on the Stairs is 3 p.m. Monday and features speaker Cheryl Durst, executive vice president and CEO of IIDA. Join IIDA as it recognizes design’s young talent on THE MART Grand Stair with a high-energy afternoon that includes a mini-documentary screening featuring IIDA’s Design Your World pathway program and its success in building grassroots diversity in design; as well as a “deconstructed” panel discussion with design leaders, IIDA scholarship winners, and plenty of audience participation. After, join the industry as it toasts IIDA’s 30th Anniversary at Marshall’s Landing.

ASID is presenting its 2024 Trends Outlook at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The outlook will be moderated by Khoi Vo, CEO of ASID. Panelists include: Margi Kaminski, Principal, Director of Health Interiors, CannonDesign, ASID Board of Directors; Julia Calabrese, Associate Director, Strategy & Design, IA Interior Architects; Leah Bauer, Global Director of Design and Sustainability, Workday; and S. Dawn Haynie, Ph.D., Research Fellow, ASID. The panel will discuss the latest trends impacting interior design.

It is amazing just how much takes place at NeoCon and Design Days. Over the past two weeks, I’ve outlined enough to keep you busy (and that’s without factoring in showroom visits). Make sure to pack good walking shoes and drink lots of water. It’s going to be a fantastic, exhausting week.

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