CHICAGO -- Designers of office and contract furniture are making it easier for today’s workers to create and collaborate.

In addition to making visually pleasing products, companies displaying at NeoCon also are seeking to provide a physical environment conducive to the modern world of work. A few observations:

--We saw height-adjustable everything, including all manner of desks and large tables. This isn’t completely new, but the application and related features are.

--A few new solid wood applications stood out and created a new look, in addition to high-end veneer designs.

--Collaborative work environments and open offices are a familiar theme, but designers have created various cockpit-like seating and desks enclosed with soft-to-the-touch sound and visual barriers.

--Taking that a step further, there were several companies offering “cone of silence” booths that people needing aural privacy could step into for that important phone call.

--New ways to charge devices in the furniture.

--Greater number of materials used in the same project, a continuing trend

--Space for millennials to play table tennis and kickball to get the creative forces going.

Contract Magazine named Halcon Furniture its Best of NeoCon 2017 for its Halo conference room furniture.

Other winners included Gunlocke Calia seating, Bernhardt Design Terry Crews lounge furniture, HBF Harmoni table and Bentley Mills Night Vision carpet. More NeoCon coverage to come.