NeoCon 2012 Review by Cameron Grimsley of Mohawk Group
I had just landed after an early morning flight and was only half awake as I stepped onto the moving walkways that cross through Chicago O’Hare airport. I slept through most of the 4 hour flight from Los Angeles and was trying to gather my thoughts for the upcoming week and though half of my brain may have seemed like it was still in somewhat of a dream state it was obvious where I was. When you work in the interior design world you seem to be able to spot your colleagues pretty easily whether or not you have ever even met them before. I had just arrived at NeoCon 2012, the weeklong event held in the amazing city of Chicago every June, and everywhere direction I looked I saw the interior design world. The man behind me wearing a furniture manufacturer polo, the woman ahead of me dragging her luggage with her architecture firm’s luggage tag, and the various welcoming signs the city of Chicago had setup welcoming us to the city for the largest design exposition in the US; it was clear why we were all here.
It was my third time attending NeoCon so while I didn’t have any stories from the late 90’s to share like some I wasn’t a newbie to the whole experience either. Mohawk kicked off the festivities this year by launching a sort of competition called “In Your Space” wherein design firms shared some of their most unique designs where Mohawk’s carpet was used. The competition started well before NeoCon where we announced a design firm winner at our upcoming showroom party with the Bumby’s (google them). I’d already seen a few of the layouts prior to the announcement but I felt like the “In Your Space” event to start the week really set the tone. Though we at Mohawk work with flooring it is imperative to have a feel for how a flooring choice will compliment an overall design layout. In that light, I was motivated to go check out some of the exhibits outside of my industry vertical. I walked around and peered into a few of the office exhibits, sat in some of the newest “ergonomic” chairs and envisioned what it would be like hold a meeting around the “modern” conference tables of the future. It goes without saying that when you are sitting in at a table you rarely look down to check out the carpet beneath your feet and evaluate how it fits the rest of the room from only a few feet away so after sitting down and indulging myself as a design tourist for awhile I decided it would be more pragmatic to stand back so I could see the whole puzzle.
Walking around looking at the new and upcoming variety of furniture, fabric, lighting, and anything and everything else that fits in a commercial space I was easily able to get in the right mind to share Mohawk’s new carpet collection that was the focus of our efforts at NeoCon. “State of Mind” is our new collection in which the designers themselves can actually build their own carpet designs by combining a few metrics that Mohawk offers. At first thought this might seem like cautious territory given that Mohawk has been in the flooring business for decades but after I had walked around and seen the other new age products that were going to be a part of the future design layouts it was only fitting that Mohawk too offered a more customized and creative layout for flooring as well. I spent most of my time hanging out at the Mohawk exhibit talking about this concept and teaching others about our new collections while simultaneously learning when and where they might be interested in choosing their “State of Mind.”
Overall, it was another great trip to Chicago, the weather was great with no humidity, the city was bright and vibrant as always, and I was able to connect further with the design world on a personal, professional, and artistic level. I look forward to sharing the thoughts I had about the ever continuing trends of interior design for the coming year and deploying my newfound ideas in trying to better serve my clients and colleagues. I plan to be riding those moving O’Hare walkways again next June when we all once again make the trip out for NeoCon to see what is next. We are all riding the design world trends and whether you are awake or not the trends are always going to move in a new direction.Cameron Grimsley, Account Executive, Mohawk Group IIDA SoCal Chapter Vice President, Sponsorship