Each spring, the design industry waits with excitement as fresh new products are debuted at fairs the world over. This year’s NeoCon — the largest edition yet thanks to its expansion into Chicago’s Fulton Market — was no exception. Here, we round up 16 standout product launches of NeoCon 2022, ranging from sculptural side chairs to plush lounge seating.
Intended to support a variety of interior scenarios across the hospitality, healthcare and commercial industries, Erin features a sculpted back with an opening for easy cleaning. Its upholstery can include sealed seams and a moisture barrier; high-performance fabrics are available in multiple colourways. The angled and tapered wood or metal legs, meanwhile, are offered in
a range of different finishes and glide options.
With a strikingly sculptural profile and pragmatic approach to customizability, Melete by Stockholm-based Afteroom exemplifies Scandinavian principles. Two back options (with or without arms) can be paired with one of six bases (four-leg steel or wood, four-star aluminum and two stool heights) to create configurations that suit a variety of needs. Multiple finishes and colourways are available for both portions, and dozens of fabrics and leathers can be chosen for the optional seat cushions.
Deceptively delicate in appearance, the Yarn chair by Stockholm designer Mia Cullin comes in a robust — and sustainably minded — material palette: The minimalist recycled steel frame is accented by hemp-string webbing braided and knotted by hand and an FSC-certified birch plywood seat wrapped in one layer each of felted wool and hairlok (a mix of horsehair and natural latex). It’s offered in 11 colourways and multiple fabric and leather options.
A stackable chair with a flexible shell and architectural profile, LimeLite has an elevated yet easy-to-work-with appeal. Designed in collaboration with Chicago-based Aaron DeJule, the comprehensive seating line currently includes four chairs and three stools (with more seating options to come), which allows for a consistent style application while addressing different requirements. Each version features an integrated back slit to make lifting and moving a breeze. Bases are offered in chrome as well as an array of standard powder-coated and select textural matte finishes.
Marking Andreu World’s foray into dedicated work chairs, Calma by Benjamin Hubert and his London studio Layer combines ergonomic engineering with a pleasing handcrafted sensibility. Intended to bring the comfort of home to the office, the clean-lined seat features a lightweight die-cast aluminum frame that extends to form the circular armrests and can be paired with a variety of backrest options (fully upholstered, upholstered front with wooden back, and breathable mesh). A low-back version is available, as are four- or five-wheel base options.
Switzerland-based Andreas Krob modelled the arch of this design after a Japanese archery bow. Its synchro-reclining mechanism reacts to a user leaning back, while a unified mesh back and seat (in six colourways) embraces a body’s contours to provide lumbar support. Made with a lightweight nylon frame — available in seven on-trend hues — the piece weighs 50 per cent less than a typical task chair.
Strongly influenced by the Eameses’ shell chair, Zeph by Berlin-based Studio 7.5 features a sculpted and contoured mono-shell with natural recline cushioned by optional 3D-knit upholstery (made from 50 per cent recycled yarn and offered as a unibody cover or removable seat cushion). Spring-loaded technology concealed under the one-piece seat and back uses pivot points to kinetically counterbalance postural changes. The eight dipped-in colourways available for the shell and base can be complemented or contrasted by 20 upholstery options.
Industrial designer Wolfgang Deisig ensured the Pli task chair would be ergonomically comfortable for each user by giving it a four-point suspension seat system that requires only one adjustment, a precise engineered-to-flex mesh backrest and a waterfall front edge. As a result, the chair intuitively responds to posture shifts and movements while maintaining maximum stability. Configured with 2D or fixed arms or armless, it is available in multiple mesh, upholstery and frame colourways.
With precise stitching, shapely curves and an approachable silhouette, the Rowan Lounge collection by Yabu Pushelberg successfully adheres to an informal elegance. Its sinuous offerings include a chair and straight, concave and convex sofas that can be arranged into linear, serpentine or curved landscapes. The chair can have a fixed or 360-degree swivel base, and multiple leather and fabric options are available for the series.
With a tailored exterior and somewhat slouchy interior, Gimbal Jr. exudes an undeniable laid-back charm. The highly adaptable chair is offered with a swivel base, on rollers or as a rocker, each iteration adding a layer of comfort and functionality wherever it’s used. An optional pivot table (in solid ash or walnut or a range of soft-touch laminates) turns it into a solo workstation.
Built around the basic concept of a hexagon, the sofas, benches, pouffes and lounge chairs that make up the Dau collection by Spain’s Yonoh Studio are optimal for oddly shaped corners, large open spaces and everything in between. The seating volumes (in multiple sizes) can be outfitted with optional casters and handles, making them easy to move, while complementary coffee, side and integrated tablet tables increase their versatility.
Bringing distinct personality to corporate, hospitality or residential settings, this modular system’s 12 low-slung pieces are made with a thin upholstered fibreglass shell that forms an embracing backrest and arms without encroaching on the generous seat. Loveseats and chaises longues are also included in the series, and all elements can be appointed with contrasting textiles for project-specific customization.
A multi-faceted micro-pattern, Particle makes an energizing impression thanks to a textural top layer of hand-drawn stipples with subtle size variations that create a sense of linear movement. The 11 colourways available for the upholstery fabric feature vibrant nature-inspired backgrounds embellished by the arrangement of dots rendered in coordinating and contrasting hues. The overall effect is one of both softness and sophistication.
A commentary on the ephemeral nature of human life and experiences, this six-pattern collection by New York–based product and interior designer Erin Ruby has a lovely tactile, handcrafted quality with the durability required for high-traffic contract spaces. Each of the rich textiles boasts its own personality — from a tattoo-inspired toile and a casual stripe that evokes well-earned laugh lines to a comforting nubbly wool — and is offered in 55 colourways.
Bringing a three-dimensional characteristic to a high-performance fabric, Oxbow is woven using a special technique that gives it a raised construction, resulting in a unique tactility and irregular expression through its structured grid. Made with a wool weft and dense nylon warp, the undulating pattern has a slight illusionary effect. It’s available in 15 colourways, each featuring a heathered neutral ground punctuated by vibrant bolds like canary, scarlet and royal blue.
Sustainability meets modern craft with Suzanne Tick’s Shared Ground collection. Comprising four complementary motifs, the upholstery and multi-purpose textiles are nearly all made from a variety of post-consumer recycled fibres, and include an updated take on traditional Glen plaids (Melange Check), a vividly coloured plain weave (Wool Fleck), a wool-like twill (Cult Classic, shown) and a textural and nuanced solid (Complect). Between the four, a total of 62 colourways are available, their individual palettes intended to invigorate commercial interiors.
With launches from Keilhauer, Herman Miller, Designtex and more, the industry’s biggest names took the Chicago contract design fair by storm once again.