Seeking the next design evolution
By Liz Beardsley
senior policy counsel, USGBC
NeoCon has come again, and for me it will be the first time I attend the show. Granted, I’ve been in the industry for years but never found myself on the commercial side long enough to warrant a trip to the Windy City for this event. However, as I’ve grabbed the reins on GO and delved deep into the commercial building side of this industry, I’ve discovered where my love lies. I am completely in awe of the capabilities of commercial manufacturers, the design insights and passion of the A&D community and the beauty of the products they both work so closely with to create the built environment we live our lives in and around.
This show, for me, will be the next step in my current love affair with commercial. It’s where I’ll get to see the next stage in the product evolution from both a design perspective and the new “sustainable” foresight given to each one. Sustainability, as I’ve said before, has come to mean so much more than it did in the past. As an industry we are no longer looking at the small impact a recycled product can have on the world. An all-consuming, holistic approach to the way we design our spaces has taken hold. Both designers and manufacturers alike are coming to terms with the real meaning behind sustainability. It’s about the human impact, the ecological impact, the last impacting of what our buildings mean to our world and to our future.
“This show, for me, will be the next step in my current love affair with commercial. It’s where I’ll get to see the next stage in the product evolution from both a design perspective and the new ‘sustainable’ foresight given to each one.”
There is no question that a revolution is happening when it comes to climate conservation. The younger generations have taken up arms to not only convince those in power that change in necessary but are working to exact that change. The built environment is a major consumer of energy and creator of waste, from product creation to installation and even as the end result — a workplace, a hospital, a hotel. We’re beyond the point of no return. And, as I worked to put this issue to press, I felt hope. From the words of designers and the efforts of manufacturers, change is coming. The need is obvious, and the time is now — their words, not mine.
So, as I walk the showrooms and exhibit hall of the Merchandise Mart, I’m excited to see that next evolution — where the world of design will be taking us in the next year. In this issue, we talk about “resi-mercial” trends (I know, we all hate that word), workplace design, building for resiliency, and in the end it all comes down to where this road is taking us. How the flooring industry will make an impact and how it can exact change.
NeoCon, here we come. See you soon.