Category Archives: Exhibits

Ready, Set, CHARETTE!

During NeoCon, IIDA hosts an annual Student Design Charette pitting student teams against the clock to produce a project in one work day that creatively solves a design problem they receive that morning. Students are invited from IIDA Campus Centers all over the country and placed in teams with students they’ve never met before. The results produce amazingly inventive design solutions, and provide a one-of-a-kind experience for students.



(photos of the 2012 IIDA Student Design Charette at NeoCon)

However, exactly what is a charette? Prior to interning at IIDA, I did not know what a charette was. I had heard it used in conversations, but never had the opportunity to learn what it actually meant.

The original word charette (shuh-ret) is French for “cart” or “chariot,” and is oftentimes times spelled with two r’s as charrette. The process of charette is thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France during the 19th century when the word was adapted by student architects when they arduously worked on a project close to the end of a term or specific deadline until a cart, or charette, was wheeled in to pick up their work for review. Since then, the process of charette has aligned itself with working tirelessly up until a deadline.


In today’s world, we’ve honed the definition and process of a charette to be a collaborative brainstorm in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem within a limited time to present internally, to clients, or to a panel of judges (as is the case with IIDA’s Student Design Charette). Regardless of the cause or motivation, a charette is an extremely beneficial process that collaboratively harnesses the talents of the group to plan, create, and substantiate a design solution in the interest of a client, group, or community.

As we near the three days of NeoCon in June, stay tuned for more information on IIDA’s 2013 Student Design Charette, and when and where to visit the IIDA booth to observe the process and results of the IIDA Student Design Charette.

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5 Designs We LOVE

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago

Brothers hailing from France, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (pron. Boo-roo-lek), took the definition of “Bivouac” (a light-weight, adaptive shelter) and generated an exhibit based around “microarchitecture;” items larger than furniture, but smaller than architecture. The results of their work give us dynamic pieces like Cloud , seen here, that acts as a colorful, multi-layered wall and/or enclosure.



LAB West Lobby
The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Las Vegas’s newest and most hip place to stay is The Cosmopolitan, and its West lobby certainly boosts the hotel and entertainment mecca’s cool factor. Designed and constructed by Rockwell Group’s LAB, the lobby features eight large columns wrapped with LCD screens and mirrors to produce beautiful displays, giving visitors a completely unique digital experience.

The Cosmopolitan: West Lobby from labatrockwell on Vimeo.

Bogota, Columbia

Winning Best in Category for IIDA’s Best Interiors of Latin America Competition in 2012, the JWT offices from Arquitectura e Interiores is an interior we definitely love. Designed to be a creative environment for the JWT advertising group, this is a space employees and visiting clients alike can certainly enjoy (click to enlarge).








From the Dutch architecture firm, DUS, comes the KamerMaker (or “RoomBuilder”). This state-of-the-art, mobile 3D printer brings grassroots creativity and commercial efficiency together in one inspiring machine. Everyone becomes a designer with the KamerMaker, allowing people to create one-of-a-kind works from inhabitable rooms (max. 6 ft wide, 6 ft long, and 9.5 feet high) to coffee cups; on demand and on-site.

KamerMaker from DUS Architects on Vimeo.

Florez Graphic Resume

Standing out in the design world is difficult, but a well-designed resume can certainly help. This is one of several you will see now that graphically (and uniquely) display personal and professional information rather than being confined to traditional resume formats. This resume speaks to employers about who they are and what they can do – simply, effectively, and creatively.


Furniture Revolution Gallery @ NeoCon

In keeping with the tradition of opening its doors to well-seasoned and up-and-coming furniture designers alike, NeoCon announces the second running of the Furniture Revolution Gallery! The unique display will be featured once again in a gallery on the show floor during NeoCon, running June 13-15, 2011. The Furniture Revolution Gallery will provide a platform for the innovative designs of current students and young designers just out of school.

If you are booming with ideas that will change the future of U.S. commercial furnishings design, join the revolution and get noticed by submitting your product design to be featured at the Furniture Revolution Gallery at NeoCon 2011!

New this year, IIDA Student Members receive a discount!  Be sure to mention “IIDA Student Discount” when signing up.  For more information, contact Paige Sims at or 312-527-7934.

Revolutionary Student Designed Furniture at NeoCon

Although it’s only been a few days since our last post featuring student works, we wanted to share yet another collection of photos, this time from our partners at the Merchandise Mart, more specifically the Furniture Revolution Gallery from this years NeoCon.

“The idea was born out of a discussion about the status of furniture design in the United States,” says Antonio Larosa, project chair of the Furniture Revolution Gallery. “The Furniture Revolution Gallery is set up to highlight students, and young designers just out of school who have the potential to be the next great designer in America. This is unique because NeoCon is the first venue out there giving students a real chance of being seen and noticed by the major players in the design industry. ”

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Antonio Larosa, is a  Chair and Professor of the Furniture Design Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and is also the Project Chair of the Furniture Revolution Gallery

SCAD Student Designed works from NeoCon 2010

Almost two weeks ago we asked you for pictures of noteworthy student events or accomplishments because  we love to see how awesome our student members are!  While the response has been a little more like crickets, we did receive a few photos from one of our members from SCAD from works that were on display during NeoCon 2010.

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Keep us in the loop!  If you or your campus center has recently done something you think is noteworthy, send us a quick email or a web link and we’ll be sure to share it with our fan base.

Favorite Things At NeoCon 2010


This year at NeoCon, attendees and manufacturers could see and be seen in a whole new light with the launch of Powered by a young, hip, tech-savvy team from New York, became the first ever personal guide for the show. With the ability to search through exhibitors and products online, 2010 became the first year that attendees had the ability to browse and share products before the show. Easy navigation, user friendly design and suggested products for browsing made the guide interactive and fun. But the fun didn’t stop there. The Designer Pages team recruited what they call “Citizen Bloggers” to help them stream show-related live news about the show in the form of pictures, videos, blogs and tweets from across the web. Their mobile web capabilities allowed the stream of live information to feed throughout several displays in the lobby of The Merchandise Mart. The buzz about the show was electric. And it seemed that everyone wanted in on the action.

2. Fashions

Fashions? At NeoCon? Make no mistake, NeoCon still stands for the National Exhibition of Contract Furnishings, but there were some fabulous fashion designs showcased throughout the building. Each year, IIDA Chapters around the world host fashion shows across the country. The Chapters team up with designers who create immaculate dresses made from materials donated by some of the world’s leading manufacturers. To showcase the talent and work of our Chapters, a careful selection of dresses were chosen to be featured at NeoCon. The designs could be spotted on-site at various showrooms throughout the building, including Hastings Tile & Bath, Poliform, Ann Sacks, Urban Archaeology and Granite & Marble Resources. The fashions were also modeled at this year’s IIDA COOL Gala. The dresses gave NeoCon 2010 a whole new dimension of design and helped to intricately represent the process of design in the industry.

3. Cutting-Edge Showrooms

Lets face it, it’s all about the showroom floors. Everyone anticipated the grand unveiling of not only the permanent showroom floors, but the temporary exhibits at The Mart. And they did not disappoint. My personal favorite was Haworth. They really outdid themselves this year with awe inspiring ceiling installations and colors that made you more and more intrigued as you stepped further into their showroom. It was an experience. And there were several that went above and beyond, making NeoCon 2010 truly a year of groundbreaking design.

To check out more pics from the show, visit our facebook page here.

What were your favorite things at NeoCon 2010? I’d love to know.

Don’t Miss the Best of NeoCon 2009

Today is already Wednesday, the last day of NeoCon 2009 (and student day)!  How will you make the most of it?  In addition to specially planned programs at IIDA and elsewhere, remember to take plenty of time to explore the show itself.  With so much to see and so little time, start by checking out the winners of the Showroom and Booth Design Competition and the Best of NeoCon 2009 Awards.

The 14th annual Showroom and Booth Design Competition was sponsored by IIDA along with Contract magazine.  One of the biggest highlights is the Nurture showroom (3-101), which won awards both for Best Large Showroom and Best Overall Showroom.  Rather than resembling a typical showroom in the Mart, the winning space realistically recreates an actual healthcare environment.  “The approach by the Nurture design team was authentic, evidence based design,” commented Steve McCollum, IIDA, AIA, Vice President of Communications for IIDA.  Other winning designs you won’t want to miss include Leland International’s showroom (337) and Amtico International’s booth (8-7054).

Be sure to pick up a Best of NeoCon booklet on your way in and read about the top-rated products introduced at NeoCon 2009.  In its 20th year, the 2009 competition chose the winning designs out of over 400 products in 45 categories. Award recipients include Steelcase, 3form, Teknion, Haworth, and Herman Miller, to name a few.  You can find their booths and showrooms spread throughout floors 7, 8 (booths) and 3, 10, 11 (showrooms).  Some say it’s best to start on 11 and work your way down.  However, remember that some of the booths on 7 and 8 may start packing up early today because it is the last day.  What will your strategy be for seeing the best and most exciting of NeoCon 2009?

Check back later to read about some of IIDA’s NeoCon 2009 favorites!