Major Office Design Trends From NeoCon 50

June 21, 2018

Last week, Yulio attended the fiftieth anniversary of NeoCon, the most important event of the year for the commercial design industry. Here, we got the pleasure to speak to some amazing industry leaders and see some spectacular showrooms in the process.

NeoCon 50 was all about the up-and-coming trends to hit the commercial design industry for 2018 and 2019 - and now, we want to share the major office design trends that we saw there with you!

Comfort and Durability were Key Players

The main trend that seemed consistent throughout NeoCon was the push towards how aspects of a home can be shared with commercial and hospitality spaces as well. This concept invites a more warm and welcoming atmosphere by inviting comfortability and durability within the same space.


NeoCon introduces residential design into the commercial and hospitality sector for warmth and comfort
National Office Furniture shares a combination of comfortability and durability for an at-home atmosphere in the workplace.
Source: Interior Design


NeoCon 50 brings couches and lounge furniture for all spaces including residential, commercial and hospitality
Employees can collaborate in comfort with the at-home atmosphere that this year's NeoCon design brings. Source: Interior Design


To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, think about how offices are beginning to have a more comfortable collaborative-type feel such as including a plush sofa made of a light but durable material to stand the test of time but also being able to facilitate strong conversation. This would make what was intended for relaxation and comfort to transition into a more functional and social space for ideas and productivity to spark.

Bringing the Outdoors in

Another huge office design trend we saw is the idea of bringing elements of nature and organic materials into indoor spaces. You’ll see the incorporation of plants, greens, wood grain, furs, stones, and similar materials being used in a way that enhances the contrast within textures in opposing materials, while also adding a more acoustic experience for the room.


Stone work can be seen as wall designs now as designers are making indoor designs with outdoor elements
Wall coverings turn into natural elements with intricate designs of layered colour to mimic stone. Source: Wolfgordon


Organic accents allow for a more natural look and feel of a space
Deer moss provides the space with a light, airy, natural and textured appearance as designers
bring the outdoors in with organic accents. Source: Interior Design


You’ll not only see this with materials used for furniture, but in wall coverings, room embellishments, and accents for a sense of freshness and life, and to bring our human instincts back to their roots wherever we may be.


Natural stones such as granite and quartz are being brought into the office for a more earthy and natural atmosphere
Granite, what is typically a kitchen countertop is now a prominent office design
trend showing up in boardrooms. Source: Interior Design


The addition of natural embellishments within space design adds a luxurious feeling towards what used to be stagnant materials used in commercial and hospitality all around the world. The natural and polished look appears much more contemporary and visually interesting. Who wouldn’t want to brainstorm around this kind of boardroom table?!

Rich Layered Textures

Textured layers are another large trend that were fairly consistent throughout NeoCon. Following the use of natural materials, by incorporating contrasting textures allows for a lot more visual stimulation within a space.


Rich layered textures are contrasting enough to draw the eye, while also showing more depth and interest to the material pieces on their own.
Rich layered textures took NeoCon by storm showing depth and adding interest
to otherwise overlooked design details. Source: Schlegal Design Group


You can focus a lot more on the detail of individual pieces with contrasting textures, but you’re also able to see comfort regardless of what materials you favor over others.


These designs are wood-inspired and show off different level of polishes when it comes to natural materials.
Here we see wood used in a couple different ways to show the textural
interest with overlapping. Source: Sossego Design

Again, here you see designers using wood, a natural material as an inspiration for many looks. These chairs look almost hand-carved, the partitioned wall has an appearance of a deteriorated birch, and the plaques on the wall appear like they’re tree rings, but in fact, are made of a brushed metal.

Think about complementary colors - if you want a color to pop, you’re going to put it against the opposing color to make the largest contrast. Having rich layered textures not only makes a space more visually appealing, but it allows for a combination of sleek materials to shine their brightest.

Repurposed Materials and Concepts Shine Bright

This one might not be a brand new concept for commercial design, but reviving the old and turning it back into something new is always a breath of fresh air when it comes to designing a space. Again, it’s the contrast of materials and what technology can do with the materials now that makes this look so stunning.


Mixing old and new concepts has been an emerging trend since late, combining technological skill and old material into one.
Here we see a mix of old and new textures and design concepts that make
this space so visually interesting. Source: ACI Boland Architects


Notice the different textures from leather to iron to metal to plush to woodgrain to velvet - this room has it all. Even the candlesticks on either end table - an older concept that has been revived to be something new with light bulbs inserted into the base of the design. This design is a refreshed look on an old country living room but in the modern era.


Unstructured patterns and organic designs took the forefront of design at NeoCon
Carpet designs embody patina from old world city inspirations
to create a natural and unstructured pattern. Source: Interior Design


Here we see one more example of how NeoCon was reviving the old and turning it into something completely new and different. These rugs were inspired by the beauty in imperfections - They embrace a rustic, old, and deteriorating look and feel, while also being natural, organic and with an unstructured pattern to complete the design.

Let’s talk patterns

In terms of colours and patterns that were popular, we see a lot of this rose gold colour that has erupted in the last few years make an appearance in the commercial design industry, as well as deep green colours to pair with the natural accents around the spaces, and we also see a lot of warm greys in many of the office spaces.


The design industry reintroduced bold patterns and colours for a reintroduction into mid-century modern design
Patterns are derived from a mid-century modern feel bringing about bold colors
and without a distinct pattern Source: Metropolis


The patterns that made a forefront at NeoCon are driving from what used to be more neutral and conservative trend back to a more mid-century modern and vibrant look and feel. These designs have a blocked pattern, but you’ll notice that they don't have any sort of vertical pattern or design repetition, which makes it have more of a natural effect because there is no distinct line where a pattern repeats.

Unique Wall Coverings

Now, diving into wallcovering trends that were spotted at NeoCon, we’re embracing this same natural organic texture and pattern but throwing it on the walls. Again, as we saw with the color and patterns this year, we see this same concept again in wall coverings. The designs have no distinct line or clear repetition which creates a more natural look and feel which is just so visually stunning in a space.


Commercial design incorporates metallics and organic design to create visual stimuli in wall coverings
Natural and metallic wall covering designs make an impact when places as the central design aspect of a space. Source: Metropolis


They seem to be playing with the organic patterns and metallic embellishments which creates this interesting and reflective look that appears very naturalistic but modernistic as well.


Wall coverings are becoming more natural and deconstructed from what used to be a very structured and repetitive design
Destructed is the new constructed with this wall covering tile pattern. Source: Metropolis


You’ll also notice small details like what look to be kitchen or bathroom tiles but in a completely inflated and deconstructed pattern. This is an interesting design choice to be an accent towards specific pieces in the room, for instance, in the image above, the wall tiles are accenting the stainless steel lamp shade with a woven metal base. This wall covering design seems to be coming from an older design trend of ‘ombre’, or the transition from one stark colour or texture to the next (so this would be the transition from protruding and metallic to a more matte finish) and also creates this balance on this wall with how the furniture is placed.

There you have it! Some of the stunning office design trends that we took away from the one and only NeoCon! We look forward to what NeoCon has in store for us for next year, but in the meantime,  we’d love to share some of our fun experiences with you. Check out some of our memories from the show here.

VR is a great tool for showing off your products, which includes furniture, wall and floor coverings and much much more. Interested in virtual reality? Learn more about VR for business through our fast 5-day email course here and kickstart your learning today!


Rachel Chan

Rachel Chan

Rachel is a writer for Yulio, covering all things VR. With a keen interest in creativity and innovation, Rachel enjoys seeing how businesses use VR in their workflow, and how they have been transformed by it.