Chicago—In addition to NeoCon’s core role as a major launch pad for game-changing new products and design innovations, NeoCon 2020, to be held here June 8-10, 2020, at theMart, will introduce new partnerships, programs and experiences that address broader currents of design and reach expanded audiences. These efforts are built on NeoCon’s commitment to inspire and engage the commercial, hospitality and residential design communities.
Two major new partnership entities launch during the week of NeoCon 2020: Confluence Chicago, a multidisciplinary design ideas platform created in tandem with BIFMA (the not‐for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers); and Designing a Better Chicago, a partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Specials Events (DCASE) and the Design Museum of Chicago—created to highlight, leverage and support Chicago’s vast design legacy, talent and resources.
“With an influential and globally-based group of design professionals and thought-leaders in attendance each year, the NeoCon audience has grown in strength as the show continues to expand,” said Byron Morton, vice president of leasing, NeoCon/ theMart. “It is important in the evolution and ongoing vitality of NeoCon—and for its stakeholders and audiences—that we actively explore and create new opportunities that further extend the conversations surrounding and celebrating design. We will continue to move the NeoCon experience forward in inspiring and far-reaching ways.”
Confluence Chicago is BIFMA and NeoCon’s collaborative effort to elevate and amplify the conversation about design and design thinking in its many forms. Programming for 2020 will focus on “the intersection of design and our world” and include a large-scale, high profile, design forum at the Harris Theater, several salon-type design experiences throughout Chicago and a Confluence seminar track hosted at theMart. Programming details and registration will be available in January.
“We are pleased to partner with NeoCon and theMart in the launch of Confluence Chicago,” said Tom Reardon, executive director for BIFMA. “Our members are leading manufacturers who clearly understand the importance of good design and the extent to which design is a differentiating value. Confluence Chicago will help place a wider spotlight on design both within the commercial interiors world and beyond it.”
NeoCon’s new city partnership Designing a Better Chicago is aimed at elevating the visibility of Chicago’s design legacy, assets, talent and community and at supporting civic good through design. For its 2020 launch, Designing a Better Chicago will include a large-scale commissioned design installation on Chicago’s Riverwalk, a grant award program recognizing individuals or organizations using design for civic good and related special programming. The selected Riverwalk design will be announced in November along with details about the grant award program.
“We hope that everyone who travels to Chicago for NeoCon will make time to experience iconic Chicago design and the exceptional design talent of our beautiful city,” said Mark Kelly, commissioner of DCASE. “At the same time, we are thrilled that this collaboration will introduce new Chicago audiences to the power of design and ensure that great design impacts all of our neighborhoods.”
The NeoCon Plaza, the popular outdoor amenity space spanning theMart’s South Drive, will return in 2020 with Gensler Chicago back on board as the design partner. NeoCon 2020 will also debut a danishdesign Makers exhibition featuring the work of 20 designers with strong ties to the Danish design culture.