NeoCon 2010 Forecasts a Furniture Revolution
It’s Memorial Day eve in America and–beyond signifying the unofficial start to everyone’s favorite season–that can only mean one thing: it’s time to outfit the vast environs of the square mile+ behemoth that is Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for NeoCon2010, the continent’s largest exhibition of contract furnishings. It’s hard to believe the event is only a couple of weeks away, and even harder to accept that we’re all another year older and deeper in debt, excepting, perhaps, the shining young stars of the A and D scene, who’ve doubtless grown more accomplished during the past year and whose work will be displayed at what is sure to become a signature event. The Furniture Revolution Gallery, according to Project Chair Antonio Larosa is “set-up to highlight students and young designers just out of school who have the potential to be the next great designer in America… this is unique because NeoCon is the first venue out there giving students a real chance of being seen and noticed by the major players in the design industry.”
Bridge Chair. Designed by Tomas Alvarez and Kevin Scott.
That’s not to say that NeoCon hasn’t opened its doors and booths to fledgling designers in the past. In fact–under the pedagogical guidance of Larosa, who is, incidentally, the Chair of the Furniture Design Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design–last year’s event featured the wonderful work of students from the very same institution (and, notably, one of the best-designed booths at the show). This year’s nod to the future, however, is grander in scope because it’s built under the aegis of officialdom, as the space is sponsored by the show itself. If the advance images of student work is a fair barometer, the participants have a good instinct for toeing the line between function and aesthetic appeal–always a complicated balance for products in the contract market.
Wood Lights. Designed by Glenn Jufer.
Tria Sofa. Designed by Justin Dehner.
So come June 14, keep your discerning eye out for Tomas Alvarez and Kevin Scott’s Bridge Chair. A multi-purpose chair that evokes the work of the masterful Konstantin Grcic, the piece is structurally strong and enviably compact with a look that has its sights on the future without going overboard (just like the Revolution Gallery’s participants). Then there’s Justin Dehner’s Tria Sofa: a high-backed loveseat in white leather and wood with integrated LED lighting, it’s the right mix of pragmatism and personality. And lastly, watch for the inviting glow of Glenn Jufer’s Wood Lights, a series of light, bright, portable, and utilitarian lamps. With its self-evident functionality and high appeal to user creativity, Jufer’s product provides some auspicious illumination on the future of design.