NeoCon + Design Days 2024 Recap

Written by: Eva Lindstrom, Katelan Dunckel, Jennifer Miller, Matt Carvell

Over the past few years, interior design trends have felt reactionary. Remember when casters were put on everything, and ‘resimercial’ was merely a buzzword? This year at NeoCon and Design Days Chicago, the largest commercial furniture tradeshows in the world, we saw interior design take a more intentional approach, catering to the actual needs of the user.

While we didn’t see any groundbreaking technology to revolutionize the workplace (no, Artificial Intelligence will not take over your workstation yet), manufacturers showcased the ability to blend versatility, flexibility, and comfort more cohesively than ever. Writers at the MMQB who compared their favorite manufacturers, including Teknion, put it nicely: “As we look to the future, it is clear that the ability to adapt, innovate, and understand the changing landscape of work will determine who thrives in the contract furniture industry. Trade shows will continue to play a vital role in this journey, serving as a barometer for innovation and a showcase for those who truly ‘get it.’”


Soft seating spaces have become ubiquitous, but are they being used effectively? To make ancillary spaces functional, people need comfortable places to work where they can use their laptops and focus. This year, manufacturers incorporated residential settings’ comfort and design style into functional work furniture.

(pictured: OFS Ally Collection)

OFS Ally Collection
Global Collaborative Spaces - series_collab-1a

It’s no secret that people enjoy the flexibility of working from the comfort of their couches at home. The challenge was bringing that homey feeling into the office while maintaining functionality. Chairs, sofas, and tables such as the OFS Ally Collection featured rounded designs and curved edges, which are common in residential furniture. Seating with deeper seats, reminiscent of cozy home sofas, made its mark, blending comfort with the utility needed in workspaces.

(pictured: Global – Collaborative Spaces, Nucraft – Conference Table, Teknion – Complements Lighting, Mizetto – Accessories, Isomi – Tejo Seating)

Nucraft Two4Six Table Lamps Teknion Library Lamps
Mizetto Office Trolley System Isomi_Tejo


With the rise of remote work, meeting spaces now cater to in-person and virtual attendees. Integrated technology in tables is a given, but this year saw beautifully designed mobile phone charging built into tables such as Nucraft’s new power options, enhancing functionality without sacrificing aesthetics.

(pictured: Nucraft – Circular Meeting Table)

Nucraft Circular Meeting

Rounded tables were advertised to enhance Zoom calls, allowing everyone to sit comfortably around the table and be seen on screen. Global Furniture introduced stadium seating with varying heights as a creative way to fit more people into a video frame, ensuring everyone can be visible and included during virtual meetings.

(pictured: Global – Stadium Seating, Teknion – Untethered)

Global Stadium Seating
Teknion Untethered Laptop Charging


Creating a “space within a space” has become essential in open offices to enhance privacy and productivity. The psychology of privacy reveals that full enclosure is not necessary to feel private. Instead, touchdown spaces provide a sense of seclusion without complete isolation and can accomplish effective space division.

(pictured: Teknion – Within)

Allermuir Crate Curved

Dividers for tables have made workspaces more versatile, flexible, and multifunctional. Large, flexible walls can create different areas for various types of work, allowing for dynamic and adaptable office layouts. This trend reflects a deeper understanding of how to balance open spaces with the need for privacy and focus.

(pictured: Allermuir – Crate, Ketal – Table Dividers, Teknion – Mounted Dividers)

Ketal Showroom Dividers Dividers


Sustainability continues to be a major focus in the world of interior design, and this year at Neocon/Design Days, the trend of incorporating sustainable materials into furniture was more prominent than ever. An increasing number of furniture pieces are now made from 100% recycled parts or pieces that can be easily removed/replaced, reflecting a growing commitment to environmental responsibility.

(pictured: Senator – Contour; Allermuir – Bastille Lounge)

Allermuir Basille Sustainability

Incorporating sustainable practices is no longer just an option; it has become a fundamental aspect of modern interior design. The push towards sustainability reflects a broader cultural shift towards environmental stewardship and conscious consumption, ensuring that the furniture we use today has a minimal impact on the planet for future generations.

The Neocon/Design Days trends highlight a shift towards intentional design, where comfort meets functionality. The blend of residential comfort with workplace utility, the adaptation of meeting spaces for virtual collaboration, and the innovative approach to space division all point towards a future where office environments are both comfortable and highly functional. This year’s tradeshow demonstrated that the future of interior design is not just about new technology but about thoughtful, intentional design that meets the evolving needs of the modern workplace. We can’t wait to see how these trends develop over the next year!

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