We started our second day of NeoCon with some great news! The Best of NeoCon Award and Gold Award went to Kendall alum Joey Ruiter for his innovative “Passport” Conference Room Furniture. There were 364 entries, and Joey’s unique design for NUCRAFT Furniture came out on top.
Passport’s sliding top glides on a track (shown in the photo), allowing users to properly position the table relative to the marker surface or monitor shown on the right.
Joe showed us one of his newest designs—a beautiful leather-covered writing desk, crafted from distressed pine. Absolutely gorgeous.
But we did more than reconnect with graduates. The first keynote speaker of NeoCon 2012 was former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley.
Daley served six terms as Chicago's mayor. First elected in 1989, Daley was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history.
Daley worked to improve the city by investing heavily in the city's infrastructure with projects such as Millennium Park. He launched a beautification effort that included wrought-iron fencing on public properties and installation of planters and 600,000 trees, and landscaping 1,500 acres of green space citywide. As one of America’s Greenest Cities, Chicago led the way in conserving and protecting the environment, striking a balance between a healthy environment and interests of private business. Under Daley’s watch, City Hall and 600 other downtown buildings now have green roofs, and The Chicago Center for Green Technology is the first rehabilitated municipal building in the nation to receive the LEED™ Platinum rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Then it was off to explore NeoCon. Lauren Mitus was at the Material ConneXion booth, where she gave us a sample of a great new packaging material, called Ecovative.
Ecovative is a packaging material made with parts of plants that cannot be used for food or feed with no economic value. Lauren was enthusiastic about this innovative material, and gave a sample to every student who visited her booth.
There are more than 700 vendors displaying thousands of products at NeoCon this year, from antiques and bathroom fixtures to desks, case goods and chairs. So how can each vendor make their product stand out from a sea of competitors? Marketing.
To commemorate their 100-year anniversary, Steelcase published a special edition of their magazine, 360°, in which thought leaders both inside and outside the company shared their insights and perspectives on how organizations should be thinking about the next 100 years. This special issue was art directed by another Kendall alum, Erin Ellison.
And of course we saw many, many tote bags branded with logos. We also saw incentives ranging from fluffy stuffed teddy bears to oversized umbrellas. But the real crowd pleasers were the ones in the crowd.
Green scan man wandered with a ViewMaster.
Unusual creatures with computer monitors for faces roamed the halls.
And a trio of Einstein look-alikes encouraged passers-by to visit their booth.
At the end of the day, we had tired feet, but happy smiles, as working showrooms became crowded with everyone celebrating a successful conclusion of NeoCon’s first day.