NeoCon Winds Down

Wednesday is the quiet day at NeoCon. That’s not to suggest that it is an uncrowded place, but it is possible to find space on elevators and even the hottest showrooms can be casually strolled without the crush of rush hour madness on Chicago’s El. The designers have generally left for more exotic locales and there’s always a pile of luggage behind the reception desk as the out-of-town reps eye the clock for afternoon departures from O’Hare.

I found a team of three from one of the larger furniture makers standing in the middle of a competitor’s space. They formed a careful delta pattern with the two outermost participants scanning the room and dictating impressions to their accomplice who faithfully transcribed their acerbic comments.

For all the smiling faces, colorful presentations, and large spreads of refreshments, this was a good reminder that NeoCon is ultimately about selling things—chairs to tables, locks to lamps. More than a thousand vendors showed their wares to tens of thousands of industry professionals.

Everybody agreed that attendance was down from previous years, though most seemed resigned to making do in a tougher economy. I knew I had to leave when I found a Metropolis bin on the first floor that was empty of complimentary copies. It’s time for us to get more of our product out to you.

p.s. In three days, I never found anybody who could tell me what was up with the green apples. They were everywhere—on tables and credenzas, desks and workstations. Perhaps they meant to signify environmental friendliness, but I saw them on too many plastic laminate surfaces to sell me on that possibility. Anyone know?

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