Adventures at NeoCon, Part 2

Welcome back to our series on the 2018 NeoCon event. If you missed part 1, it can be found here.

Sometimes you come across a product or booth that may not speak to a particular trend or movement in the design world, but it’s pretty cool all the same. This installment of What I Did on my Summer Vacation will focus on those products that made me stop and say, “wow!”

The Juice Mobile Power Strip by Bretford


Designed specifically for classroom and educational use, this product probably also has a wider use range than just that market. Each 12 foot track is designed to be plugged into an outlet to extend the range of how far you can be from the wall and still plug in your laptop. It also provides convenient floor power without having to rip up existing floor or build a floating floor. Need a longer distance? No problem, the units can be daisy chained together to provide flexibility.

Designtex’s Celliant Upholstery Fabric


Celliant fibers have been around since 2008, but have seen a renewed interest in recent years. Designtex has released a collection of upholstery fabric backed in these fibers that collect the heat given off by the human body and reflect it back as infrared light, promoting increased circulation and blood oxygenation. This fabric won a Gold award for upholstery fabric in the Best of NeoCon competion.

PIXA Cube Light from Sensitile


Apologies for the blurry picture, but I couldn’t resist this light fixture using Sensitile’s PIXA material. This particular pattern is made from terrazzo with little bits of optical plastic that is made partially from recycled plastic from the manufacture of some of their other products. It can be used towards LEED points. Very mod, very green.

VR and AR Support for Configura CET Designer


If you’ve taken the FF&E class, you know about Configura CET Designer. It’s a nifty little piece of software that allow you to design in both 2D and 3D simultaneously can produce photo-realistic renderings. In the US it’s mostly used for commercial projects, but also has a strong kitchen and bath presence in Europe. The coolest part is that in now supports Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Using a $20 headset and either your phone (or a cheap refurbished one, as long as it has wifi) you can put your client in the room and space, it’s definitely an on-trend alternative to fly-through videos.

A partner company has also allowed for the use of Augmented Reality in conjunction with Configura CET Designer through use of an iPad. Scan a CET drawing with the iPad and show it to your clients on the screen in multiple scales, including 1:1. This means that you can show a client what the furniture selections would look like in an already built environment.

There are many more interesting products than I can post here, but there is my top 4!

Interested in going to NeoCon yourself? Next year’s NeoCon takes place June 10-12, 2019.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!


Adventures at NeoCon, Part 1

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to make it down to the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon. I saw a lot of familiar faces there, but for those who couldn’t make it, don’t worry, I took pictures!

For those who may not know what NeoCon is, every June, the Interior Design community gathers at the Merchandise Mart to see what’s new in the industry. Manufacturers and vendors announce and display new products, paint companies reveal their color of the year for next year, and seminars about challenges that designers face in their projects are held. It’s also a great place to network! I left the house on Monday morning with maybe 50 business cards, I came home on Wednesday afternoon with around 20 left. That’s 30 connections made. It’s especially great for students as admissions badges for students are free! Interested in going? NeoCon 51 will be held on June 10-12 2019, mark it in your calendars today.

Without further ado, here’s what I saw at this year’s NeoCon!


There were quite a few seminars going on that were discussing the future of office design, the common thread being moving away from open office plans. Despite this, just about all of the office furniture set out on the showroom floors were benching systems. However these systems started to have more curves in their design and less straight lines as well as customization of privacy and noise reduction.

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In addition to an abundance of benching systems, there were quite a few retailers who were either expanding into or specializing in privacy pods for the office. Some where glass, some had open sides, some resembled traditional recording booths. With such a wide variety of styles, it was interesting to see how each product differentiated it’s self from the competition and their strategies for getting you to look at their product. One manufacturer would plant a tree if you gave them your email address.

Green and living walls have been a trend for a while. What caught my eye was the amount of vendors using moss instead of live plants. Touted as being lower upkeep (it doesn’t need light or water) and having superior acoustical properties, it was fun to see companies make cool shapes out of colored reindeer moss for custom green wall solutions.


I didn’t get as much time to look in the healthcare furniture booths as I’d like, so I don’t have much to report there, other than pattern and color have seem to come to play on not just on guest seating, but exam tables as well.

That’s it for this installment! Check back tomorrow for some of the cool products I spied!

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

ASID Design Your Path Presentation


Yesterday, representatives from the American Society of Interior Designers stopped by the college to give a presentation on how ASID can help students during their education and into their careers.

ASID often holds events that are prime opportunity for students to meet designers in the industry and network with future employers. Another great way to get internships is to enter in ASID’s Student Portfolio Competition. The competition, which is held in the fall, offers the opportunity to gain an interview with top firms, like Gensler,  to the finalists and grand prize winners.

Outside of chapter events, there are also numerous peer-groups through out of Illinois who meet and hold their own events. These events often include visits to show homes and material showrooms. Some peer groups even offer local mentoring opportunities.

ASID also offers many scholarships to students. These scholarships offer up to $5000 to students, and many don’t even require the submission of a project or portfolio. For more information on the available scholarships, click here.


When you have graduated, ASID can help you even more. Your student membership can then become an Allied Membership, which offers you a discounted membership for 5 years. The Illinois Chapter of ASID also has a job posting board specific to the state of Illinois, open to all members.

ASID also presents at NeoCon every year. NeoCon is a three-day convention that centers around the commercial sector of the industry, and is great opportunity for students. Every year, the convention does have Student Day, which features events like Career Exchange and Student Roadmap. These events offer opportunities like meetings and interviews with firms in the Chicago area and portfolio critiques. You can click here for more info on student programming at NeoCon.

The benefits of a student membership in ASID are even more than they presented in the meeting! And the best part is that it is truly affordable for students. Student members only pay $85, once, for their entire student career, up to six years. You can apply for student membership on their website, specifically here.

Do you have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

COD Student Yvonne Franchini on an award winning team at “Stitch”- an IIDA-Illinois Chapter Signature Event

kmr and i on stage

COD Student, Yvonne Franchini, and her friend, Katelyn (the model), on stage at the IIDA-Illinois Chapter’s signature event “Stitch”, held in March at the House of Blues.

We always encourage students to participate in events sponsored by our local professional design organizations. Let’s let Yvonne tell you herself why you need to take advantage of all of the opportunities you can:

“Stitch 2018 was without a doubt my favorite experience as a COD Interior Design student. Through the event I was able to not only network with a great group of Chicago architects, designers and manufacturers, but I was also given the opportunity to collaborate freely and creatively with them, as well as learn more about their companies and their contributions to the industry. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work with than those at Heitman Architects and Trendway. They gave me the creative freedom to take on a large portion of the project, and as a student that was a very satisfying feeling.”

KMR wins people's choice award!

Their entry won the “Andy Warhol People’s Choice Award”

“In addition, they took us to the Trendway factory in Michigan, where I learned a lot about the furniture-making process and their popular “Feek” material, which we used in our design. Heitman Architects uses some of the most innovative computer design technology to create in their work place and allowed us to experiment with all of it in order to better visualize our ideas. I could not be more grateful to these two companies for trusting me to take on so much of the project, and for giving me all of the knowledge and the tools necessary to do so. This project required a lot of organized meetings, group work, and creative problem solving, which helped me to better understand what it takes to work in this industry. By the end of this project, I had fully designed a beautiful corset out of Trendway chair backs.” 


“I was also placed in charge of hair and makeup the day of the event, and doing it was even more enjoyable because the model we used was my very best friend.”

makeup application

“My dad even helped out and the team was so thankful to him for lending his carpentry skills to our cause.  The rest of my teammates created a beautiful cape made of Trendway textiles, a skirt made of “Feek” and 3-D printed jewelry that displayed the Trendway logo and our art theme.”

led corset cage

“In the end, everything came together so well and all of our hard work paid off when we won the “Andy Warhol People’s Choice Award.” This experience, and all of the great people I worked with on this project will be unforgettable for me. Thanks to IIDA Illinois and College of Dupage for granting me such a wonderful opportunity!”

back of our shirts

IIDA Illinois Chapter CEU: Designing for High Impact Learning Spaces


Education is being disrupted by shifting student demographics, research focused on the science of learning, and the impact of new technologies. Schools are looking at their roles through a new lens. Leaders are rethinking the environments of the past, which were intended for controlling students, restricting learning to a predetermined curriculum, delivered by those in authority. They now have a vision of education that is freeing, unfolding, and discovering who we are and our purpose as we live and work together.

New teaching approaches demand new kinds of learning spaces to prepare today’s students for the future. As content becomes more dynamic, flexible and accessible to a large number of students, schools and universities are looking at how that content is currently delivered and what types of changes need to be made in learning spaces.

We invite you to join us for a highly interactive and fun evening as we share insight into these evolving learning spaces. Our CEU was developed in partnership with Nancy Sturm, the Principal Consultant at the Sextant Group. Nancy is a nationally-recognized thought leader in creating transformative learning environments. Nancy is located in Washington, D.C. and is a former Science Teacher of the Year, as well as past Executive Director of NASA’s Challenger Learning Center.

Virtual Reality equipment provided.

.1 CEU Credit – 1 Hour

Tickets are free to members

Have a cool event, job opportunity, or design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

ASID Illinois Charrette Competition


Come put your skills to the test in one of the industry’s oldest competition forms, the charrette. Work with other students and emerging professionals to create a design, all while under a time limit. This is a great way to meet other interior designers and to get your work seen by professionals!

This event is held at The Mart in downtown Chicago on Thursday, February 15th, and tickets are $5 for students, though free tickets can be acquired by using code DCSTUDENTFREE.

If you are planning to go, please let Jane know so she can give the organizers an idea of how many we have.

And did we mention that we are the reigning champs?


Do you have a cool event, job opportunity, or design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

IIDA Photobash 2018!


Are you in need of a new professional headshot for the new year? Then we’ve got the perfect event for you. Please join us for the 2018 IIDA Illinois Chapter Member Appreciation event, Photobash. Festivities will include professional headshots taken behind custom graphic backdrops, DJ Charles Protege, Cocktails & hors d’oeuvres, networking, and a live raffle. This event is sure to be a great time.


Ace Hotel

311 N. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL


Thursday, February 1, 2018

5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Have a cool event, job opportunity, or design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Interior Design Professionals Night

The COD Interior Design Student Organization is hosting a Q&A night with local Interior Design Professionals on November 28th at 5:30 PM. Come and meet representatives from local design firms from across all sectors, many of whom are program alumni or on our advisory board.

They will be answering questions about working in the industry, what employers are looking for, and other questions submitted by students. This also is a great opportunity to network with possible future employers, so bring your business cards!


Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
5:30 PM


TEC Building, 3rd Floor
College of DuPage
425 22nd Street
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Add to Calendar

Do you have a job or internship opportunity, fun design event, or exciting bit of news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

ASID Holiday Party

While this month is about eating turkey and visiting family, the holidays are nearly upon us! Celebrate with ASID at the new Armazem showroom on Monday, December 4th at 5:30 PM. Bites and cocktails are provided.


And a party is not complete without fun and games! The student ornament design challenge is now open and the winner gets a free student ASID membership! Portrait Sketch Artist and Fashion Illustrator Kristine Steiner will be on site as well, creating custom portrait sketches of guests, and tickets for this opportunity are on sale now!