WTF On Day One

WTF On Day One

The Nomkhubulwane (pronounced Nom-koo-bull-wah’-nee) sculpture flanked the entrance of the Merchandise Mart on Day One of NeoCon World’s Trade Fair. Brought to you by InterfaceFlor in partnership with The Human Elephant Foundation. (image by Edmund Dantes)

NeoCon WTF is one of the nation’s largest trade show of contract furnishings in North America. The name itself stands for The National Exposition Of Contract Furnishings World’s Trade Fair.


Vitra Opening Reception, South Lobby, Merchandise Mart. (image by Lira Luis)

It officially kicked-off Monday, June 14, 2010, and expected an attendance of over 40,000 industry professionals that include Architects, Interior Designers, Facility Managers, Space Planners, Dealers/Distributors, Manufacturers/Reps, Corporate Real Estate Executives, End Users, Office Managers, Purchasing Managers, Press, and Students.

Day one greeted everyone with a majestic-sized elephant called Nomkhubulwane (pronounced Nom-koo-bull-wah’-nee). Named for the Zulu goddess regarded as Mother Earth, Nomkhubulwane symbolizes our commitment to sustainability and talking about oil, the proverbial elephant in the room,” reveals InterfaceFlor in their blog.

The day before, Vitra had an Opening Reception for the events to follow in Neocon 2010. It gave the attendees an initial taste of the furniture and designed objects adding a unique flavor by allowing the reception attendees to experience and celebrate the designed lobby space customized for the NeoCon event.


At NeoCon there are over 86 variations of the chair and over 1,715 chair products on exhibit. (image by Chris Vaughn)


Chairless by Vitra. (image by Lira Luis)

History indicates the Egyptians invented the chair during the Predynastic Period. Today at NeoCon there are over 86 variations of the chair and over 1,715 chair products featured at the showroom.

While the chair may have been invented eons ago, Vitra introduces a new breed of chair design that will shatter one’s preconceived notions of what a chair should look like. Welcome…the chairless.

When I first saw these hipster kids hanging out by the lobby floor equipped with their iPads during the Vitra event, I thought to myself, “now what kind of performance art are these kids going to do.” It turns out that the pink straps straddled around them are the innovative products from Vitra.

Other products featured during the event are fabrics and tiles.

Tiling was extensively used by Sinhalese kings of ancient Sri Lanka. There are over 1067 Tiling products on exhibit at the showroom.

Manmade fibers are less than a century old. Synthetics or chemical fibers came in around 1910. There are over 960 fabrics to see at this trade show.

Not to be missed are the numerous networking opportunities surrounding NeoCon. There is still time to check out the “elephant” in the room and experience the designed spaces while socializing with your peers.

The NeoCon World’s Trade Fair is held at the Merchandise Mart from June 14 to 16, 2010.


Networking event at Kimball Office (image by Lira Luis)


USGBC reception at Haworth Showroom (image by Lira Luis)


Lira Luis, AIA, RIBA, NCARB, LEED®AP, is principal architect at Atelier Lira Luis, LLC. She believes in transforming the world and society through designs that are sensitive to sustainability and address social responsibility. Follow her in Twitter: @liraluis or Get LinkedIn

with her.

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