NeoCon, the Furniture Super Bowl

This week brings us one of the most exciting weeks in design engineering, NeoCon NeoCon is a showcase and exhibition of all of the latest office furniture break throughs. Running Monday through Thursday of this week (6/10-6/13), NeoCon features many Holland area businesses known for their innovation in the field of office furniture design. 

Haworth has designed a 2013 NeoCon showroom that highlights innovation and collaborative thinking. One of their key pieces is the the Hoop. Hoop is a molded, standing-height table that is approachable from all sides and encourages on the spot collaboration and short conversations with room for between two and four people. Hoop is light weight (about 60 lbs.) making it perfect for any location inside or out. Another key piece is for Haworth is the introduction of the incredibly innovative Bluescape collaborative touch screen wall. This product is sure to change the face of meeting space and office collaboration across the globe. Haworth has previously won several awards for their innovation in office furniture design and hopes to bring home more recognition to West Michigan this year.

Herman Miller, another serial award winner and local giant has also produced a showcase that will blow away any who view it. Key to their collection is the Mirra 2 work chair. The Mirra 2 is an update from Herman Miller’s original best-selling design. The original design of the Mirra sold over 1.5 million units during the past ten years. So, why change what isn’t broken? Well this new Mirra 2 is a totally re-imagined idea; it is leaner, lighter and more responsive with a patented Butterfly Back design. Mirra 2 features easy-to-use controls that allow for adjustments while seated. Herman Miller’s NeoCon collection also features a fiber glass model of the Eames molded plastic chair, and a debut of the modern Wireframe Sofa Group.

Local innovator Mitch Bakker of IDa Design (Zeeland, MI) has offered an upscale vision for private offices. Credentials makes a bold statement through modern wood construction. This sleek design seeps status, confidence and luxury without the pretension of a stuffy old style wood work. IDa also offers an integrated, reconfigurable system of work spaces for Allsteel. IDa hopes to add to it’s two prestigious design honors earned at NeoCon 2012.

Other offerings come from Trendway and Sparkeology, also local West Michigan firms. Sparkeology offers Lily, an ergonomic table that can hold a laptop, papers, pen, drink, and phone, but can still move to accommodate individual and group work. Sparkeology also plans to unveil Mark, a portable table top surface that can be written on and hung as a white board. Trendway’s NeoCon offerings begin with Feek North America. Bold, colorful, playful lines of unique furniture from polyurethane foam which is coated by a special process to produce durable comfortable skin. All new products from this line are being manufactured right here in Holland.

NeoCon gives West Michigan designers and innovators a chance to be showcased on the biggest stage there is for office furniture showcase; the Super Bowl for the office chair and table. It is clear that West Michigan is a leader in this field and after judging today I’m sure that we will take away another year of Furniture Super Bowl rings.


Printing Off a New World

Three dimensional printing technology is changing the face of our world with each new print out. In our industry, we use 3-D printing technology to print out a 3-D model of the part of a product that we have been designed to show our clients exactly how the part will look and fit with the rest of the product. We’re not the only one’s utilizing this technology though, the medical field, construction, and to just make some really cool stuff.

The medical field is where the real world changing innovation has began showing up in regards to 3-D printing. According to an article from, The Blaze, 3-D printing technology has been utilized to save the life of an Ohio infant. Kaiba was born with a condition that resulted in the frequent collapse of his windpipe leaving him frequently unable to breath and requiring to be resuscitated. Doctors at the University of Michigan designed a splint that would allow Kaiba’s safe breathing while his bronchus grew stronger. The UofM doctors were able to design this splint using a 3-D printed model of Kaiba’s bronchus and technology that would allow the dissolving of the splint in the exact amount of time the bronchus needed to strengthen. This is just one of many medical uses for three dimensional printing, others include the creation of custom prosthesis, and biomaterial that reduces rejection rates.

Construction is another field where three dimensional printing can shine. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of Southern California has created a giant 3-D  printer that may change the face of construction. With this printer, buildings would go up significantly quicker and with much less labor cost. The Contour Crafting, Khoshnevis’ giant 3-D printer, can produce a custom home in just 20 hours. This technology can add anything from custom paint to electrical wiring. This technology is particularly important for homes destroyed through natural disasters such as the recent devastation in Moore, OK.

Now, innovation is all fine and good, but what about the fun stuff? Like printing off a snack, or a new dress? Technology is not horribly far off. A law student, Cody Wilson was filmed for BBC firing the first 3-D printable gun. Basically, at this point if you can swing the price of a still rather expensive three dimensional printer, and you have the brain to see it’s possibilities, you can print almost anything imaginable.