As far as I am concerned, The Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago is the nation’s hub for interior design—and not just office design. Although many design conferences and expos occur throughout the year, the NeoCon® World’s Trade Fair in Chicago is arguably the single most important event in the interior design industry.
That is one of the reasons why ASID has decided this year to begin a partnership with The Merchandise Mart and hold its annual conference on design in conjunction with NeoCon. This is a big deal, a big event, and a sea change for ASID.
NeoCon is known as the “office design” exposition. But this event is evolving, and ASID wants to help change it even more. Already, professionals and specialists from every conceivable design specialty are attending NeoCon. ASID would like to expand this “design conversation” further.
ASID is a multi-faceted organization. Our members practice every conceivable type of interior design, from healthcare and hospitality, to retail and residential. The fact of the matter is, The Merchandise Mart is so vast and varied in the showrooms and products it has to offer (and NeoCon attracts so many ASID members), we saw the opportunity to bring our conference to Chicago as a natural fit. With so many of our colleagues in the industry present, it provides a great networking opportunity for future collaboration, as well as specialized design education.
This is an important change for ASID as we grow as an organization, and we believe it is a positive change for NeoCon, as well. We are inviting absolutely all our members to attend—including residential and general practitioners and students.
None of us have much time to spare in our professional lives. And it is especially true this year that we have very little money to spend on professional development and keeping up with the latest products. Even in a good year, we are likely to choose only one major show to go to, so we want to choose the one that will give us the best return on our investment of time and money.
I would encourage all of you, especially our ASID members, to consider coming to NeoCon and the ASID National Conference this June. This is an especially important year to attend our conference. As the economy slows, and as work becomes scarcer and competition increases, it becomes more and more important that you stay in top form to compete. In the world of interior design, only the best, the most informed and the most passionate will succeed. The ASID conference on design at NeoCon just might give you that all-important edge.
In addition to all the fabulous showrooms and exhibit booths the Mart has to offer, ASID will be coordinating leading-edge educational offerings, a variety of great city design tours, and celebrations that really make you feel like you’re a part of a worldwide profession.
Save the date, and come experience the fantastic energy of ASID and NeoCon. Get out of the office at least this once, and join our big interior design conversation. You’ll be glad you did.
ASID president Bruce J. Brigham, FASID, ISP, IES, is an award-winning interior designer and authority on retail and lighting design. He is principal of Retail Clarity Consulting, specializing in retail design and brand development, based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with clients in the United States, Hong Kong and PRC China. ASID can be reached at (202) 546-3480 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and on the Web at www.asid.org.