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NeoCon 2014 Successfully Ended in Chicago

The Chicago sign
The Chicago sign
Saima Ahmad

Just a couple of weeks ago, on the way back from Toronto my family and I had the opportunity to stop over the city by the southwestern shore of lake Michigan that everybody calls Chicago. My husband had been saying it for years that among all other major cities in the country, visiting Chicago is a must and frankly, I did not get why he was so anxious to take us until we made this trip.

I was truly impressed by the history, the diversity, variety of architecture and beautiful views of the lake. The Chicago and Calumet rivers traverse the city and its extensive parklands including 3000 hectares of city parks attract an estimated 86 million visitors annually.

The temperature in high 70’s F and the beautiful breeze from the lake made taking the double decker tour really a pleasant experience. But, as much as we enjoyed, this short trip came a little sooner though and I missed attending NeoCon, 2014.

NeoCon, The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings that debuted in 1969, is North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors. An estimated 40,000 architecture and design professionals attend it annually. This year the event was held at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago from June 9-11. The huge pool of resources, energy and ideas make NeoCon the single largest industry event of the year.

This year’s theme was “Space Matters” and in order to make maneuvering through the 1 million square feet of exhibition space at the Merchandise Mart easier than ever, the show management launched a new website and also a show app.

The event included a great line up of programming including topics like designing to enhance well being and productivity, future of architecture and design, codes and the new ADA standards for accessible design. All in all, there were nearly over 100 CEU seminars. There were also associated forums, keynote presentations and wonderful networking opportunities for design professionals belonging to healthcare, hospitality, environmental, Government and education.

Vendors and manufacturers of fabric, furniture, flooring, interior finishes and technology showcased their latest and most innovative products for the attendees. Interior Design industry non-profits like ASID, IIDA, NEWH and many others like them make sure to be part of this excellent event and bring in many educational and informative sessions for their members and this year was no different.

After a successful finish this year, Chicago will probably host the event again in mid June next year. As for our thirst of architecture and history, this trip was too short. NeoCon or not, we will absolutely be going back to Chicago for more site seeing and deep-dish pizza.

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