The Disney-like event for designers and architects this year has come and gone, but the trends will live on… at least until next year. With no office chair unturned and no textile untouched, the 2011 trends include: Gray, Green, Groovy & Gather.
Hot Neutral: Gray
Any self-respecting design enthusiast has noticed an abundance of gray in consumer fashion and design. Commercial design went chic with the color popping up everywhere at NeoCon. Combined with texture, white and yellow, gray was the standout neutral of the show.

  • Before making it up the elevator (if you were lucky), a gorgeous gray and white textured fabric adorned a waiting-room style chair from David Sutherland.
  • The debut of LG Hausys’ new line of vinyl wallcoverings designed by Anya Larkin didn’t disappoint. From patterns to a shimmering, gray texture (featured at Tiffany’s) it stood out for showcasing the color in a new way.
  • Another Tiffany’s sighting featured blingy glass tile at Joel Berman.
  • At every turn, a textile line featured the new neutral with pops of color like yellow, pink and green. Check out Luna, Momentum, Knoll and DesignTex for the color in action.
  • Arcadia’s new Encore collection featured a fun, spacey desk chair in a shimmering silver fabric.

Green Isn’t Going Anywhere
Being “green” isn’t so hard anymore. Every showroom or line featured at least one environmentally friendly claim. Inhabitat has a lovely write-up with all things green at the show, but below is our take.

  • With inherent green qualities, such as utilizing a remarkably renewable resource, recycling and avoiding chemicals, Expanko cork and rubber floors showcased style while keeping Mother Nature in mind.
  • The Mohawk Group introduced a dazzling new carpet line utilizing SmartStrand, a fiber technology for the commercial market made from renewable resources like corn syrup. The entire showroom was homage to sustainability. Two thumbs up!
  • Besides offering beautiful design solutions, 3form upped the ante with its green offerings. ReMix uses slices from the edges of panels and recycles them into one-of-a-kind works of art for commercial spaces.
  • Coatings also entered the discussion. Wolf Gordon’s Wink, a first-of-its-kind finish that can turn a surface into a white-board, touts a low-VOC, water-based formula.
  • Lighting enthusiasts could check out everything LED on the seventh floor and compare and contrast the effectiveness of different brands, including Acuity Lighting and Currey & Company.
  • With about 20 seminars available, attendees could get their fair share of information on the subject. Plus, “green” products are becoming super-stylish, so designers don’t have to make the tough choice between aesthetics and the right-thing-to-do.

Getting Groovy
Maybe Mad Men influenced the bright colors and retro details seen from floor-to-floor, or maybe we’re just biding our time before 80s design details become en vogue. Either way, groovy colors and textures were all the rage.

  • Edelman Leather was perhaps the brightest spot with lime, tangerine, fuchsia and lemon chairs beckoning from its showroom.
  • The orange and green task chairs were inescapable. Chromcraft, Tayco, BBF, Gautier and Smith Systems were just a handful of companies offering up fun chairs with a nod to colors from the past.
  • Wood paneling made its mark at Ki in a new lounge chairs. Abet Laminati highlighted an updated wood-like finish while utilizing new, digital technology.

Gather ‘Round
Collaborative design was key in office and lounge design. Work pods, public seating and easy online sharing options make working together (or apart) a fashionable experience.

  • The Hon Company’s workstations were easy-on-the-eyes and the kind of desks you wouldn’t mind being handcuffed to.
  • AirShare’s seamless technology allows co-workers to instantly share their just-completed presentations sans wires and plugs.
  • unleashed its army of citizen bloggers on the show floor to report the latest trends and products. Utilizing smart phones, Twitter and hash tags, the 30+-person team let all of NeoCon know where to be. Planar broadcast the Twitter feeds on flat screens scattered across the mart, making the show one of the most collaborative, digitally-savvy events yet.
  • Sparkeology, one of the most fun booths around, allowed worker bees to stay connected with integrated docking stations into tables and seating.