NeoCon Trends: Poof A Pouf!

Borgo Seating: Comfy Pouf / Ottoman ~ NeoCon 2016

Borgo Seating: Comfy Pouf / Ottoman ~ NeoCon 2016

NeoCon was held in Chicago last week and it’s the largest commercial contract furnishings show in the US. NeoCon features all the things commercial interiors require, such as fabrics, desks, cord management systems, lighting and even glass markerboards! It’s a dazzling show in the Merchandise Mart that forces you to think of office interiors and other types of commercial spaces completely differently. In my free moments during the 3 days, I like to breeze through and see any trends that can’t be ignored. One such trend that has been building the last couple of years and seems to be reaching critical mass is:

Gressco/Haba Naturescape Stump Stool ~ NeoCon 2016

Gressco/Haba Naturescape Stump Stool ~ NeoCon 2016

The pouf! I was talking with one of the NeoCon Best Of award sponsors at our booth and we talked a bit about this trend that was really hitting the show. She laughed and said, “Yeah, we joked about adding a pouf category next year, because it’s hard to judge all of them beside like, a task office chair for example.”  But for casual seating in commercial spaces, the pouf is quickly becoming as ubiquitous as a beanbag chair in the 70s.

Bernhardt Design Alex Akopova "Zip" ~ NeoCon 2016

Bernhardt Design Alex Akopova “Zip” ~ NeoCon 2016

I think the trend stems mostly from a need for comfort that encourages casual interaction. I mean, let’s face it, it’s hard to be stuffy kicked back in a beanbag chair. It is definitely a trend that skews young and for offices hoping to attract the brightest young talent, it’s an important visual message that says, “Yeah, we get you.”  I mean just look at how the Bernhardt “Zip” pillows above even have handles so you can drag it around to others for collaboration, or to a quiet nook for focus. They’re all about flexibility.

Keilhauer "Doko" ottomans and stools ~ NeoCon 2016

Keilhauer “Doko” ottomans and stools ~ NeoCon 2016

However, as someone who recently passed 40,….okay okay 45,…I can tell you, getting up and down out of few of these would be an indignation that I hope not to endure. And a little back support is a good thing. (the below “Openest” by Patricia Urquiola for Haworth addresses the need for back support within a small flexible footprint)

Haworth Patricia Urquiola "Openest" convertible pouf with back support

Haworth Patricia Urquiola “Openest” convertible pouf with back support

So jump on this trend for educational environments, young office talent pools, and for relaxed casual spaces. A fun pouf could prove a flexible, fun pop of color and energy. Come back later this week for more trendspotting from NeoCon 2016!

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