NeoCon 2019: Follow function, not trend

Interior Designer, Heather Merck spent two days exploring Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for NeoCon, the industry’s largest exhibition – serving as a launch pad for innovation. She attended keynotes, explored products and immersed herself in the creative community that encompasses NeoCon. We’re excited to share her findings on shaping learning environments into the future.

Flexible Furniture Solutions

Learning stairs aren’t new to the learning environment scene. However, these furniture systems create a more flexible solution that doesn’t require a built-in commitment. Even better, these can even be added into an existing space.


Operable walls are often used in learning environments as a way to help educators collaborate. Flexible markerboard wall systems can be used in place of your traditional operable wall. By quickly rising the board with a level, you can create wall-off space in minutes. This provides a quick solution that is easy to move and doesn’t require a permanent floor or ceiling track.


Functional Storage

A custom wall of storage creates a nice architectural solution for a space, while also serving as a separation. Bonus: it doubles as storage for furniture!


Under the table units provide the ultimate functional storage. On casters, they can be easily moved around to different tables or rooms, or simply pushed under a table if more space is needed.


As designers for learning environments, we often hear the debate of built-in lockers vs. no lockers within a school. Luckily, now there are options that don’t longer require building lockers permanently into concrete curbs. New systems provide a flexible approach to student storage and allow for multiple uses, including utilizing the structure as a touchdown space.


Simple Collaboration Tools

Sometimes, the answer doesn’t have to be an expensive piece of furniture or technology. Butcher paper mounted to a wall makes for an inexpensive way to collaborate. Ideas can easily be torn off and saved for later.

What about using a simple wall of nails and yarn to collaborate and get to know your peers? Pegboard can be turned into a maker wall or function as storage!


Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Heather! We’re excited to explore these options while we co-create some amazing learning environments with our clients.

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