Category Archives: NeoCon

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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IIDA 2012 NeoCon Student Events

Don’t miss your chance to network with industry leaders, learn the latest job search strategies and receive career advice from a panel of recent grads who have been in your shoes at IIDA’s student programs during NeoCon this year.

ASID/IIDA Student Destination Passport                                          

This year IIDA is teaming up with ASID to offer students the chance to network with industry professionals and win prizes with the ASID/IIDA Student Destination Passport. The students with the most stamps on their passports from attending events will be entered into a drawing for prizes from participating sponsors including the Grand Prize—a Student Membership and swag bag from both IIDA and ASID. Passports can be picked on Wednesday, June 13 at the NeoCon registration area, Student Program area or at the IIDA and ASID booths.

Students Design Charrette

IIDA will be hosting a “non-tech” Design Charrette that will make its debut this year at NeoCon 2012 for select Student Members nominated by their schools. Visitors can stop by 9:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 on the 7th Floor exhibition hall in the Merchandise Mart to see the students in action. A jury of prominent designers, architects and industry leaders will critique design solutions and select a First Place and Second Place winner. Biographies and resumes about the participants as well as their final projects will be displayed in designated show space on the 7th Floor exhibition hall in the Merchandise Mart for the duration of NeoCon. This event is by invite only for participating students. For more information, contact Monica De Angelis.

Career Bootcamp

IIDA wants to help students jumpstart their job search with Career Bootcamp that will be 8:30-10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. IIDA presents a stellar panel of recent grads to share their stories on how to succeed in the industry. Students will learn about the journey from classroom to dream job and all the stops along the way. Gain insider advice on that all-important process of finding your first job including tips on resumes, cover letters and portfolios. Register online.

NeoCon Student Keynote Speaker

The NeoCon Student Keynote Speaker will be Ian Schrager, founder of the Ian Schrager Company and creator of the boutique hotel concept. He will speak 12-1 p.m. Wednesday, June 13 at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza Chicago in the Sauganash Ballroom. Schrager has achieved international recognition for concepts that have revolutionized both the entertainment and hospitality industries. He is currently working on launching two new hotel brands in various 24 hour gateway cities around the world. Register online.

Find out more information on IIDA’s Student events and all of our events at NeoCon 2012.

Career Bootcamp Panel @ NeoCon 2011!

Looking for a job is practically a full-time job in itself, and it’s easy to get discouraged. In response to frustrated students IIDA launched the Career Bootcamp at NeoCon 2010. Due to its  extreme popularity IIDA will be hosting the 2nd Annual Career Bootcamp at NeoCon 2011! The Career Bootcamp is designed for students to get insider advice on that all-important process of finding your first job.

IIDA presents recent grads and IIDA Associate Members who have been there, and done that. This event will help shape any students job search strategies around the new realities of the economy and discover tips about current hiring trends and personal branding for students. Learn from successful young professionals on how to secure the job you want (even if you didn’t know you wanted it) and transition from new job mode into a successful career. With over 500+ students already signed up to attend, the panel is sure to be an event not to be missed


Magdeline Oldmixon, Associate IIDA

Maggie Oldmixon is a proud child of the millennial generation and Texas native. She moved to Chicago 3 years ago and in true Millennial fashion, has made up her mind, changed her mind, moved forward and side-stepped her way around the ID industry.  After moving, spending time in graduate school and taking a marketing internship with IIDA, she discovered her interest in social media and the interior design industry. Working with IIDA and being a point-of-contact for IIDA Campus Centers nationwide has afforded her a unique perspective on the ID Industry, personal branding, the art of social media and how it all will affect the next generation of emerging professionals. Most recently she has worked for John Robert Wiltgen Design, Inc. on numerous projects in the Trump Tower residences and other iconic residential towers in the city of Chicago. Currently, she is interested in working on changing policy, legislation and common industry stereotypes through social media.

Lynette Klein, Associate IIDA

Lynette is a Nebraska native and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Since college, she has been working at Perkins+Will Eva Maddox Branded Environments as a full-time designer. Lynett works among an interdisciplinary team of architects, interior designers, brand strategists, graphic designers, environmental designers and signage and wayfinding designers. Some recent projects she has worked on range from brand strategy and product development, such as the Surface Materials Program for Kimball Office and carpet products for Masland Commercial, as well as brand experience design for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York, the Matthew Knight Arena at University of Oregon, and several Haworth showrooms nation-wide.

Trina Alsip, Associate IIDA

Having recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Interior Design and a minor in Business, Trina has only just begun an unpredictable journey into the “real world”. Throughout college she held internship positions in multiple disciplines of design. She also successfully completed her LEED Green Associate. This path has led Trina to her current Design Consultant position with the U.S. Restaurant Design team at McDonald’s Corporation where she is focusing on improving her retail/brand design skills. When not “hanging with Ronald,” she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the gym, running with her dog and relaxing.

Stephanie Bryant

Stephanie Bryant is the president and founder of Inhabit. She inspires lives through the art of design and transforms spaces to benefit human existence and the environment that surrounds them. Stephanie received a bachelor of arts in interior and environmental design at CIDA accredited Illinois State University. At Inhabit, she takes on the role of Registered Senior Interior Designer and Owner utilizing her business skills as well as her design expertise and NCIDQ certification. Through her passion for design and the human connection to their surroundings, she helps her clients to harmoniously inhabit their spaces in their own, individual fashion.

Michelle Kraker : The Moderator

Michelle Kraker moderates the panel for the second year in a row, asking the questions students can’t learn in a classroom setting alone. Michelle has over 5 years of experience working in the design industry and is currently the Manager of Social Media Marketing for the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). In addition to cooking up aggressive marketing campaigns targeting emerging designers, she crafts the voice of IIDA’s social media efforts.

Here at IIDA we’re putting together questions for Michelle to ask our panelists that YOU want answered, even if you won’t be at the show. Tell us your questions in the comments!

To register for the FREE Career Bootcamp taking place on Wednesday, June 15th at 11am go here!

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.