CHICAGO  – At the 43rd annual NeoCon® attendees could see and feel the upswing in the economy and the contract furnishings industry. During the show, held June 13-15 at The Merchandise Mart in Chicago, 42,899 industry personnel attended, a 4 percent increase from 2010.

More than 700 showrooms featured their products in more than one million square-feet of space on 10 floors of the Merchandise Mart. The 2011 Best of NeoCon competition had more than 325 entries and thousands of new products were presented at the show.

NeoCon exhibitors had this to say about the show:

"The world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever, which makes work more complex and fast-paced. People need workplaces that help them collaborate, support them physically, and cognitively, and create a sense of purpose and belonging. This year at NeoCon we're showcasing a palette of solutions to help globally integrated enterprises successfully navigate the global, mobile, 24/7 nature of work." -Jim Keane, President, Steelcase

“This year’s attendance reminded me of the old days. Everybody was filled with optimism, a great outlook on the upcoming year and an all-around good feeling about the industry. Quite refreshing actually!” –Rob Lazarus, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, AIS

“What has impressed me the most is the significant increase in embedded technology. It’s well-designed so it can be upgraded in a year or two. Manufacturers used to think that if their technology couldn’t be updated, people wouldn’t buy it. We hope this will stimulate shorter product lifecycles.” -Mike Dunlap, Principal, Michael A. Dunlap & Associates LLC

“I’m hearing from our company and many of our competitors that business is up. We’re excited and hearing great things. It’s nice to see attendance from some markets we haven’t seen in a while.” -Charlie Bell, President, HBF

“The traffic is phenomenal—we are very pleased. We scheduled so many appointments and a lot of people are coming in to learn more. A lot of international meetings are taking place, which is so important and one of the main reasons we took a permanent space at The Merchandise Mart. Our international business is about 50%--and we are very happy.” -Jim Stelter, CEO, Vanerum Stelter

“It’s exciting to see that the show is growing again. We won a Best of NeoCon award which we’re excited about. NeoCon has been really rewarding for us this year.”-Alan Morse, President, SIS-USA, Inc.

“This show is a pivotal benchmark for our studio in terms of product introductions and general trends in commercial interior design. It is also a time for all of our, studio, clients and A&D companies to come together, share and refresh. It's kind of like a yearly commercial interiors class reunion, but more forward-thinking!” -Tom Marquardt, Design Collaboratives, Inc.

“I attend NeoCon every year. Not only is NeoCon the greatest gathering of interior designers and suppliers, but my favorite opportunity to network and exchange ideas with my fellow designers.” -Eric Corey Freed, organicARCHITECT

NeoCon included more than 140 CEU accredited seminars for attendees. Programs included keynotes from five industry leaders: Matt Peterson, president and CEO of Global Green USA, Ed Begley Jr., actor and environmentalist, Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker Automotive, Amy Wells, film and television set decorator and Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Architectural Digest.

The Furniture Revolution Gallery, sponsored by Herman Miller, returned to NeoCon for a second year featuring 18 products from 17 students from universities such as the Savannah College of Art and Design, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Pratt Institute, among others. The Gallery offers design students and young designers just out of school the chance to get their unique product in front of the world’s top manufacturers.

NeoCon World’s Trade Fair 2012 will take place June 11 - 13, at The Merchandise Mart in Chicago. For more information about NeoCon, visit www.neocon.com or call (800) 677-6278 (MART).

NeoCon® World’s Trade Fair is a registered trademark of MMPI.

MMPI is the world's leading owner and operator of showroom buildings and trade show facilities, bringing buyers and sellers together in more than 300 market events, trade and consumer shows and conferences each year.

MMPI manages The Merchandise Mart and 350 West Mart Center in Chicago; the Architects & Designers Building, 7 W New York, and Piers 92/94 in New York City; the Boston Design Center in Boston; the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles; the Washington Design Center in Washington DC; and Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center in Cleveland.

Vornado Realty Trust, owners of MMPI, based in New York City, is a fully integrated equity real estate investment trust. Vornado’s common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and are traded under the symbol VNO.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.