Educational Opportunities, Industry News

NeoCon’s 2022 Programming Will Educate and Engage

An invaluable component of every NeoCon is the multitude of educational opportunities it offers. In addition to daily on-site keynotes and special programs, this year’s NeoCon, which will take place June 13-15, will offer 47 virtual CEU-accredited programs from an impressive roster of leading industry experts from a wide cross-section of fields. The sessions will span 8 program tracks: Workplace, Healthcare, Education, Facilities, Wellness, Sustainability, Design Skills, and Industry Direction and delve into the topics that are making an impact on the design industry both now and in the future.

“From examining how to make spaces more accessible to implementing biophilic design practices and exploring how NFTs and the metaverse will shape the future of design, we curated our 2022 CEU lineup to center around themes that are rapidly growing in importance for our industry,” comments Allison Kearns, Director of Programming for NeoCon. “The eight tracks are intended to offer a much-needed opportunity to learn and conceptualize how we will continue to build a more sustainable, innovative, and effective future as a community.”

NeoCon CEU programming registrants can watch each session when it runs live or anytime on-demand (for accreditation) through July 15. Registration for CEU programming, as well as onsite keynotes and other special presentations, opens April 12.

Below are presentation highlights from each of the CEU program tracks:


Changing the World Through Workplace Experiences: An Adobe Story about Experimentation

June 13, 2022, 8:30am CDT

Adobe and Gensler partnered on experimentation related to the environment, technology, ways of working and community & wellbeing. Here they will share their findings and methods that help inform the Future of Workplace Experience at Adobe. One of the core tenants is experimentation methodology, cross-functional teaming, better understanding team performance, and understanding cohesive findings across the organization that will inform the future.


  • Noelle Borda, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED AP, Senior Program Manager, Workplace Design, Adobe
  • Natalie Engels, IIDA, LEED AP, Principal, Global Work Sector Leader, Design Director, Gensler
  • Eric Kline, Director, Workplace Experience, Adobe
  • Katie Kaiser CIDQ LEEP AP, Senior Associate, Studio Director, Gensler

How Minds and Designs Work Together: Then, Now, and Tomorrow

June 14, 2022, 11:30am CDT

Human brains and core motivations evolve very, very slowly. Workers are bringing the same sorts of sensory apparatus, ways of processing information, and goals to work today, as they have for decades—and will for decades to come. Space users continue to want to do their jobs well, to have some control over their work lives, and to socialize, as they choose. Understanding these consistencies is crucial for developing workplaces in which people are able to perform to their full potential and don’t simply work. Workplace design principles introduced by Michael Brill at BOSTI remain as relevant now as at his death 20 years ago.


  • Sally Augustin, Principal, Design with Science
  • Jennifer Veitch, PhD, Principal Research Officer, Construction Research Centre, National Research Council of Canada
  • Sue Weidemann, Researcher, University of Buffalo


Telemedicine Reimagined: Journey in Hybrid Era of Healthcare at the Workplace

June 15, 2022, 1:00pm CDT

Artificial Intelligence is already in use in Healthcare and our lives. Wearables, in-home diagnostics, intelligent mirrors, etc., all form a multichoice health ecosystem around each individual. In the recent study that included a scientific literature review, interviews with physicians, and Journey Mapping of Telemedicine, the team developed modular design solutions that could aid the resolution of various challenges in the current state of Telemedicine. Home-based Telemedicine can no longer satisfy the required level of care. However, a hybrid decentralized system, equipped with modern cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence, paired with convenience could offer a new paradigm in healthcare delivery—an exploration of hybrid co-locations, particularly in a workplace scenario.


  • Tina Giorgadze, IIDA, LEED AP, CHID, Senior Interior Designer, Senior Associate, Perkins and Will
  • Peggy Pailian, Senior Project Architect, Perkins and Will

The Pavilion at Penn Medicine: How a Human-Centered Process Leads to Human-Centered Design

June 16, 2022, 10:00am CDT

Completed in October of 2021, the Pavilion at Penn Medicine has already made an indelible mark on the lives of the patients, families and staff. Delivered with an integrated project team approach, this $1.6B, 1.5m square foot facility took over 6 years to design and construct, and put the user at the center of the process. From 50,000 sq. ft. mock-ups to simulations, to having full-time clinicians embedded in the design team, this project closely examined the human experience at each step of the journey and it shows. In this presentation, learn how an empathetic design process yields tangible improvements to the healthcare experience.


  • Sara Gally, NCIDQ, EDAC, Interior Design Principal, HDR
  • Derek Tasch, Health System Architect, University of Pennsylvania Health System


Design Like a Kid: Reimagining the Involvement of Youth in Spatial Design Practices

June 15, 2022, 4:00pm CDT

This presentation aims to address the critical need to rethink how children are involved in the design of public spaces they inhabit daily, such as schools, roads and spaces for recreation. By showcasing case studies and examining developmental milestones in the lives of children via how their multiple intelligences can aid us in finding new ways to read our world, this presentation aims to deconstruct and reject the notion that children are “adults in training” or “citizens of the future.” Contrarily, it positions them at the center of the conversation surrounding the construction of a new collective imaginary for our world and its built environment. This new imaginary is focused on the fundamental right of children to be –and grow to be– happy and safe.


  • Enrico Giori, Associate Designer, Fielding International

Reinforcing Brand Identity in a Renovated Space

June 16, 2022, 10:00am CDT

As Universities are continuously evolving, designers are asked to renovate spaces to spark creativity and engagement to reinforce an organization’s core identity. The higher education sector is faced with challenges to set themselves apart when recruiting top tier faculty, staff and students. This presentation showcases an organized process to elevate brand identity within education settings through integrated design strategies to craft the details of the brand. The speakers will highlight several case studies to reinforce a strategy that identifies with campuses across the country. The presenters will share technical aspects of various products and materials used for branding and elaborate on the process of taking concept boards through completion, reinforcing the Universities’ values.


  • Clayton Daspit, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, The Beck Group
  • Megan Ingram, NCIDQ, IIDA, Interior Designer, The Beck Group
  • Brittney Greco, NCIDQ, Senior Interior Designer, The Beck Group


Gate of the Future: Thoughtful Approaches to Designing a More Accessible Space

June 13, 2022, 2:30pm CDT

This session, led by a design director, a project manager, and an aviation customer experience expert, will help designers, manufacturers, and facilities professionals understand how to develop a variety of solutions that consider the future of human experience. Through the lenses of diversity, inclusivity and sustainability, our panel will address the way people navigate space, specifically highly trafficked public spaces, and how that affects the overall experience that users have in these complex environments. Through the selection of materials and their thoughtful application, lighting cues, planning tactics, technology integration, and human connection, we will explore how to make design more approachable to the entire community of travelers.


  • Erin Dayrit, NCIDQ, LEED GA, Senior Designer, IA Interior Architects
  • Kelsey Rodheim, LEED GA, Project Manager, IA Interior Architects
  • Mitchell Rufer, Senior Manager – Aviate at United Airlines, United Airlines

 Furniture Solves Space and Culture Challenges at Los Alamos National Laboratory

June 14, 2022, 2:30pm CDT

There is a space problem at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANL sends robots to Mars, but struggles to provide workspace for the people that do it. Worse yet, LANL needs to grow but is surrounded by mountains, valleys and pueblos on all sides. With the majority of LANL’s workforce at home in early 2020, LANL began an unprecedented experiment to determine whether it could solve this space problem with telework, redesigning both its workspaces and its very culture in the process. The LANL Telework Pilot Program was born. This presentation will cover what it took to implement the Telework Pilot Program from a space management and interior design perspective, as well as LANL lessons learned to make hybrid work a permanent reality.


  • Amy Chavez, NCIDQ, Planner, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Jennifer McMath, Furniture and Space Lead, Los Alamos National Laboratory


Holistic Buildings: Translating Biophilic Design Strategies into the Built Environment

June 13, 2022, 11:30am CDT

A holistic approach to architecture and biophilic design strategies represent a central topic in INNOCAD and 13&9 Design’s work referring to the importance of collaborating with scientists such as Prof. Richard Taylor and his team form the University of Oregon, that transfer scientific findings into the built environment. The benefits of such transdisciplinary processes will be discussed with Prof. Taylor and their implementation are exemplified by recently completed and future projects, which unify years of research and analysis with experts in the field of biophilic and workplace design as well as office architecture. This results in human-centered and highly sustainable solutions on a social, environmental, and economic level.


  • Martin Lesjak, Co-Founder and Design Director, INNOCAD architecture and 13&9 Design
  • Richard Taylor, Professor of Physics, Psychology and Art, University of Oregon

The New Inclusivity: Neurodiversity and Workplace Inclusion

June 15, 2022, 11:30am CDT

We are living in a time of increased numbers and awareness about individuals with neuro- sensitives and special needs, such as ADHD. In fact, 1 in 7 people are considered neurodiverse but fewer than 50% know it. But these individuals can be high-energy, out-of-the-box thinkers, excel in a crisis, and be bold problem solvers. Not only is designing to be inclusive the right thing to do, there is a compelling business case for it as well. Sargent will share the various aspects of neurodiversity and explore how to create spaces that are more physically and culturally inclusive for people with a wide spectrum of neurological conditions to allow them to thrive.


  • Kay Sargent, FASID, FIIDA, CID, LEED AP, MCR.w, WELL AP, Director of WorkPlace, HOK


A Designer and an Activist Have Found Their Place at the Bar- We’re Breaking Dishes and Making Some Noise!

June 14, 2022, 8:30am CDT

With over 40 episodes and 2 years of conversations with everyone from chemists to engineers to adventurers, Verda Alexander and Jon Strassner, founders of the recognized podcast, Break Some Dishes, have created a running narrative that has peeled many of the layers from the climate change conversation. Climate change is a textile woven from many different cords, representing culture, trend and humanism. This presentation will take listeners through the journey to truly understand climate, health and equity in greater context than we have heard before. Their goal is to educate their audience by sharing their experience and weaving these many conversations into one that will inform and inspire our industry to better understand climate change and our impact on the world.


  • Jon Strassner, LEED AP, Vice President, Industry Partnership, ASID
  • Verda Alexander, Co-Founder, Studio O+A

The Carbon Question: What Do Interiors Have To Do With It?

June 16, 2022, 11:30am CDT

With global climate change growing in severity and urgency, architects and engineers have been grappling with the embodied carbon of new buildings for years. Because most building foundations and structural systems are such carbon hogs, the impact of an interior fit out for a new building appears as a blip – no need for designers to bother themselves with LCAs or other carbon footprint calculations. Take a deeper look: most of the global building stock already exists, and renovations never stop. New buildings exist for 25 – 50 years. Consider how many interior renovations occur within that lifespan. Interior products, from flooring to furniture, have major impacts on global warming. Take control and lead your clients and facilities to do less harm, starting now!


  • Suzanne Drake, CID, LEED ID+C, WELL AP, Fitwell Ambassador, NCIDQ, Senior Interior Designer, Revel
  • Frances Yang, SE, LEED AP, WELL AP, Sustainable Materials Specialist, Arup North America Ltd.

Design Skills

Design In the Face of Fear

June 13, 2022, 8:30am CDT

Traditionally, fear is thought of as a liability that limits the probability of success. In the design process, fear can obstruct designers from fulfilling their best visions. However, leaning into one’s fears can lead to experimentation and innovation. This session explores how custom fabrication offers solutions to new world problems by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It will explore common fears designers face when working with a fabrication partner — losing creative control, budget, and the unknown. The speakers will offer insight into how concrete strategies, like collaboration and experimentation, can be used to overcome these fears. When working collaboratively, one idea can flourish beyond what is capable within a single team. This panel will encourage participants to leverage fear as a creative asset rather than a detriment.


  • Gareth Brennan, Founder and President, Eventscape
  • Krista Ninivaggi, Founder; Principal, K&Co; Woods Bagot
  • Primo Orpilla, Principal and Founder, Studio O+A

Illuminating Color: Revealing the Complexities of Color, Science, and Design

June 15, 2022, 8:30am CDT

Color plays a critical role in our perception of the built environment and how we feel about the spaces we inhabit. It affects what we consciously perceive, things we like, and how we feel. It helps us understand how to move through spaces and enhances our experiences. Color has profound impacts on our subconscious, affecting our decision-making and buying habits in ways we may not be fully aware of. Lighting, the mechanism by which we are able to perceive color, plays a pivotal role in how we experience and feel about the colors around us. This seminar will present a study of color, introducing various chromatic philosophies and discussing how color shows up in everything from literature to marketing to the built environment.


  • Katherine Stekr, IALD, MIES, CLD, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate, HLB Lighting Design
  • Darcie Chinnis, PhD, PE, IALD, MIES, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Associate Principal, HLB Lighting Design

Industry Directions

BIFMA’s Guidance and Best Practices for Specifying Furniture in Commercial Environments in a Pandemic and Beyond

June 13, 2022, 4:00pm CDT

Do you want to avoid throwing your furniture into the landfill? Part of the answer is found in the new ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Surfaces: Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Standard. This panel of experts from BIFMA, design practitioners, and material experts will discuss the practical features of this standard and how it applies to commercial spaces and the built environment.


  • Steve Kooy, Director of Health & Sustainability, BIFMA
  • Adity Phadnis, Lead of Product Compliance, Designtex
  • Margi Kaminski, ASID, NCIDQ, Principal, Director Health Interiors, CannonDesign

Designing the Metaverse: How NFTs will Evolve the Design Landscape

June 14, 2022, 8:30am CDT

More than just trending buzzwords, the metaverse, the blockchain and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have rapidly become the next frontier in the future of—practically everything. From how we view art and design, measure value, and express ownership, NFTs play a critical role in showcasing and embodying innovation and creativity in the ever-expanding new virtual world. Imagine furniture designed without having to consider physical constraints like gravity and ergonomics— possibilities abound in the metaverse, and this program will provide a clear path to unlock the many creative and business opportunities it presents. How can firms approach designing spaces in the metaverse? How can brands leverage the technology of NFTs to protect intellectual property, as well as establish ownership, sales-boosting scarcity, and authenticity? This session will explore the changing design landscape, how to establish a leadership position in an emerging space, as well as outline how brands can leverage NFTs, the blockchain and the metaverse to explore exciting new opportunities for authentic design while building new revenue strategies that complement and expand their business and drive customer engagement.


  • Andrew Lane, Co-Founder, digby
  • John Edelman, Independent Consultant

For full programming details and to register for NeoCon 2022 and programming head to

For showroom, exhibitor, and general NeoCon news, images, and real-time information, follow NeoCon on: Facebook (@NeoConShows), Twitter (@NeoCon_Shows), and Instagram (@NeoCon_Shows).

About NeoCon

NeoCon is the world’s leading platform and most important event for the commercial interiors industry, held each year at theMART in Chicago. Since launching in 1969, NeoCon has served as the annual gathering place for the commercial design world’s manufacturers, dealers, architects, designers, end-users, design organizations and media. The three-day event showcases game-changing products and services from close to 500 leading and emerging companies—providing unparalleled access to the latest and most innovative solutions. A robust educational program of keynote presentations and CEU sessions offers world-class expertise and insight about today’s most relevant topics as well as the future of commercial design. NeoCon is a registered trademark of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc, a subsidiary of Vornado Realty Trust.

About theMART

theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. It is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design-forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies.

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