Chicago— NeoCon 2021, to be held October 4-6 here at theMART, will host a robust lineup of onsite, as well as virtual, educational presentations that will provoke important discourse and explore timely topics within the ever-revolving sectors of workplace, healthcare, hospitality, education and more.
The show has tapped influential thought leaders including Jeanne Gang, founding principal and partner, Studio Gang; Frans Johansson, author and CEO, The Medici Group; and Jackie Koo, founding principal, KOO, to deliver the 2021 in-person keynote addresses. These sessions will be complemented by in-person special programs led by Todd Heiser, principal and co-managing director, Gensler Chicago, and Sheryl Schulze, principal and studio director, Gensler Chicago; Lauren Rottet, founder, Rottet Studio; and Marti Konstant, workplace futurist and best-selling author. There will also be a rich offering of virtual CEU sessions to watch live online or on demand up to 30 days following the event.
“Whether it is groundbreaking new ways of approaching wellness and sustainability, the growing convergence of the commercial and residential sectors, or the powerful intersections between innovation and strategy and diversity and inclusion, NeoCon 2021’s programming will offer an exceptional opportunity to come together, discuss, evaluate and learn from each other,” said Lisa Simonian, vice president of marketing, theMART.
2021 Keynotes and Special Programming will be presented onsite at NeoCon and also available for viewing via livestream. Onsite attendance will have limited capacity and programming registration is required. Livestreams will be available to all NeoCon registrants via NeoCon’s new online platform, the NeoCon Hub (and do not require separate registration).
Monday, October 4, 2021
Keynote: “Furniture for the City”: Recasting Urban Design through Micro-Activation
Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang
Association Host: IIDA
The past year has underscored the vital importance of urban public space for sustaining individual wellness, building and maintaining community connections, and enhancing the livability of our cities. Through an exploration of a diverse set of Studio Gang’s projects – ranging from large-scale residential work, like the Mission Rock development in San Francisco, to in-depth community engagement and planning efforts in Chicago, Founding Partner Jeanne Gang will demonstrate how we can rethink design strategies to make cities more inclusive and equitable. In particular, she will discuss how principals regularly applied at the furniture scale foster a greater sense of welcoming, inclusivity, and comfort for all citizens when deployed on the urban scale.
Special Program theMART 2.0: A New Era
Todd Heiser, Gensler Chicago
Sheryl Schulze, Gensler Chicago
Gensler is collaborating with theMART to imagine an exciting new future for the building. The Merchandise Mart has long been at the center of creativity and commerce in the city, and this session will explore its evolution as it takes on a new relevance to best serve the design and business communities of Chicago and beyond. Key areas of focus in the design plan are the first and second floors of theMART. As the nexus of activity where the public, conference goers, and tenants intermingle, the session will explore how the proposed new design will encourage and reflect this confluence while respecting the legacy of the storied building.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Special Program: You’ve Got to be From the Future to Design a Resilient Workplace: From the Sketchbook of a Workplace Futurist, Design Thinker and Agility Researcher
Marti Konstant, Workplace Futurist
The future is flexible. In response to the significant changes of the past year, the shapeshifting of the workplace is in motion. As Steelcase reflects in their research, “Be prepared to experiment.” The future of work combines the tectonic plates of workplace trends, human behavior, and technology development to form the next generation of the distributed work environment. The pandemic accelerated the creative work arrangements and distributed teams that were already in place on a smaller scale. Flexible systems and an agile mindset that reframe design and workplace behavior preferences will accommodate individual and organizational needs as they continue to shift. The presentation will cover multiple trends that impact the future workplace and strategies to usher in the big shift: employee behavior; employer assumptions; emerging workstyles; the distributed workplace; technology; and learning, presentations and meetings. The mandate for future relevance and flexing with change has never been stronger.
Keynote: The Medici Effect: Innovation at the Intersection Frans Johansson
The Medici Group
Association Host: ASID
Author, entrepreneur and acclaimed international speaker Frans Johansson will share why the most powerful intersection in the world today is between innovation & strategy and diversity & inclusion – and what this means for the community and the individual. Diverse and inclusive teams play a critical role in navigating a fast-moving world and will be the source of the next generation of game-changing ideas. Throughout this talk, Frans will demonstrate that diversity and inclusion are imperative to the success of organizations’ growth, and in fact, they are the ultimate drivers for innovation.
Special Program: Expanding Your Practice: Designing for the Residential Market
Lauren Rottet, Rottet Studio
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to emerge, commercial architects and designers are facing an ever-evolving landscape. In this special program, the awardwinning architect and interior designer Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA, will discuss how commercial designers and manufacturers can embrace the opportunities of expanding into the residential sector. What designs translate and work in different residential settings, and what are the challenges and opportunities in designing for a range of residential typologies, whether it be for single family or multi-housing residences? What is the most effective way to work with the needs of developers and individual clients? From the big picture shifts that designers need to think about in this market segment to the tactical actions that will ultimately strengthen a firm, this talk will present key ideas you need to consider in this growing design opportunity.
Wednesday, October 6
Keynote: Taming Push Me Pull You: KOO’s Integrated Architectural and Interior Design Practice
Jackie Koo, KOO
CDT Association Host: AIA
Chicago Jackie Koo, founder of the eponymous firm KOO, architect and interior designer of the recently completed Sable Hotel on Navy Pier, and interior designer of the hotel at the historic Old Cook County Hospital, will discuss how the best places and spaces are created by both architectural and interior design forces working in the same direction.
CEU sessions can be accessed when they run live online or can be viewed at any time on demand (for accreditation) Oct. 8-Nov. 6. CEU program tracks are $125/track or $100/track when more than one track is purchased. Advance registration is required.
Session highlights include:
Monday, October 4
CEU Sustainability Track: So a Designer and an Activist Walk Into a Bar…
Verda Alexander, Studio O+A Jon Strassner, LEED AP, ASID
Join Verda Alexander and Jon Strassner for a special narrative compiled of over 30 episodes of their podcast, “Break Some Dishes.” Going back through their very special curation of conversations and interviews, Verda and Jon share a story focused on bringing Green Science innovations and inspirations to the interior design industry. Designers can and should act now to make changes to how they specify product and materials.
CEU Design Skills 1 Track: Discovering Nature’s Crossover Colors: Updated Trends in Classics
Leatrice Eiseman, Eiseman Center for Color Information & Training
The question about color that often arises is: “How do color trends impact the lifespan of a product, a setting, interiors and exteriors? How do you select the long-lived colors? What hues are considered timeless? The answer is that there are classic colors included in a group of hues called ‘crossovers.’” They are the colors that appear so frequently in natural settings that the human eye becomes accustomed to seeing them in many applications and contexts. They are considered classics, basics and staples, and, as such, they enjoy a long shelf life and greater longevity. This illustrated talk will give a “macro view” of how the classics and crossovers can help in the selection, application, marketing, design and presentation of color.
Tuesday, October 5
CEU Design Skills 2 Track: Enabling the Future: How to Design a More Equitable Talent Pipeline
Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, IIDA
Akilah Halley, Marwen
Angelita Scott, PhD, Georgia Southern University
Angie Scott Design
Design is all about intentionality—how can we apply design principles and thoughtful design to the creation of a talent pipeline to infuse our industry with a rich, wide-ranging supply of diverse talent? We’re starting from the ground floor—yes, kindergarten—to build a robust pipeline for the designers of tomorrow. Many of us in design are confronting the profession’s lack of diversity and wondering how we can effect change. Through an open, revealing discussion with three speakers at the heart of our industry who are also at the forefront of working for greater inclusion in the design world, this session will examine key aspects of the challenge and explore real-world, actionable solutions.
CEU Workplace Track: Solving The Right Problem: Strategies for a Re-imagined Future of Work
Arnold Levin, Gensler
The pandemic has created new paradigms for a reimagined normal that puts into question the successes of the old normal while at the same time creating two camps of thinking about the future of the workplace. Strategies are being explored that reimagine the future. This presentation will look at how these strategies should not be viewed purely as a response to conditions created by the pandemic but as opportunities to reinvent perspectives around work and place and to question many of the assumptions that have driven workplace strategies pre-pandemic. Levin will look at those elements of the old normal that design solutions arising from a pandemic and post-pandemic perspective have proven to be ill conceived and what opportunities exist now to create a new vision driven by redefining an organization’s definition of both work and place. More importantly he will explore if our polarized discourse around the post-pandemic workplace is really solving the right problem.
Wednesday, October 6
CEU Wellness Track: Fractal Vision: A Stress-Reductive Approach to the Built Environment
Anastasija Lesjak, INNOCAD / 13&9 Design Richard Taylor, University of Oregon Jackie Dettmar, AIA, IIDA
From decreasing stress to improving physical health, nature has a significant influence on well-being. Design can be a tool to solve the challenges of an increasingly digitized society and help end users find balance between nature and built environments, especially commercial spaces. Fractals are intricate patterns that occur naturally throughout our surroundings, from clouds and trees to blood vessels and neurons. Research has shown that stress levels can reduce by as much as 60% when an occupant of these spaces experiences and views mid-complexity fractal patterns. Their harmonic repetition triggers a natural relaxation effect. Attendees of this presentation will explore this approach to design by using fractal concepts and learn how to integrate finishes and overall structures based on stress-reductive patterning using real-world examples.
CEU Healthcare Track: International Healthcare Planning and Design in the Age of Infectious Disease
Mark Banholzer, AIA, NCARB, LEED, HOK
Heather Fenniman, HOK
Will McConnell, AIA, LEED, HOK
The United States has a National Pandemic Strategy and an implementation plan centered on three pillars: preparedness/communication; surveillance/detection; and response/containment. While most of these plans are concentrated on protocols/procedures that hospital staff and administration follow, few US hospitals are designed with flexibility allowing immediate physical change to enhance infection control during pandemic outbreaks. This presentation demonstrates planning and design strategies of 3 international facilities from Canada, the UK and Southeast Asia. The lessons learned during the SARS outbreak in 2002 results in a unique approach to hospital design. These facilities have features designed to contain airborne infections, including instantaneous flexing from normal operation to pandemic treatment mode through spatial and mechanical system changes. This understanding is vital with the current Covid-19 global pandemic and future new infectious diseases.
The complete list of keynotes, special programs, and Virtual CEU sessions is up on neocon.com. Programming Registration will be available starting August 9.