NeoCon 2008 Tricycle Design Recap

NeoCon was exciting again for us this year because we had a new team leading two environmental design projects for the show.

This was Mark Cooley's first NeoCon and he was assigned what is historically considered a jewel project in the design department — the Tricycle booth. This year we focused on our new Tryk® line, specifically its context, values and benefits. The design is minimal compared to year's past but is, by far, the clearest product statement we've ever made.

He designed the space in Sketch Up and I've included a few of the renderings along with photos of the actual space. It's amazing how similar it is. Thumbs up for simulation!

Lisa Blevins, our new Design Director, and designer Nick Du Pey took our first permanent showroom assignment for Mannington Commercial. It had "good bones" because our friends at Grant Design Collaborative redesigned the space in 2007.

We took initial inspiration from Mannington's new product launches. They reminded us of the birth of Art Deco and the Bauhaus, movements from a period when patterns were reduced to simple geometric forms and materials were chosen for their function, expressing their beauty unadorned. Particular inspirations came from Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, Marcel Breuer and Josef Albers. We liked the brand story that emerged such as practicality, simple beauty, form/function, historical design awareness and gender equality.

From this point we focused on a spatial grid pattern borrowed from the product size and manufacturing ratios and then designed the space and product showcases with them. For example, 1:1, 2:1, 2:4, etc. We applied them to the floor plan, wall displays, custom furniture and graphics.

The most satisfying aspect of this design for me is the ability to showcase and merchandise the products in an artistic and clear format. Mannington's space was "decorated" with their products, making it particularly easy for the sales force to naturally introduce them into conversations.

The contrast of the two spaces is indicative of the nature of the products. Tryk is still an emerging, process oriented tool. It generally requires discussion (and lots of words) for someone to comprehend it. Mannington Commercial's products are in an established category where the beauty of the materials speak for themselves. It speaks well of our designers that they can adapt across aesthetic styles to propose and implement appropriate communication strategies for varied product types. I'm particularly proud of the them this year and I want the world to know it.

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