The Ultimate Guide to NeoCon 2024

By Loftwall March 17, 2024

The Merchandise Mart in 1969 and 2019. The Mart is the home of NeoCon

What is NeoCon?

NeoCon is the event of the year for the commercial design industry, providing a platform for ideas that have transformed the ways we live and work. The exhibition showcases commercial design’s response to technological advances, cultural change, and growing ecological consciousness. Design professionals from various markets converge each year to connect, learn, and do business, and the awards program recognizes outstanding new products, commercial industry pioneers, and innovative product design. With a fascinating history and a bright future, NeoCon remains the leading platform for commercial design.

When is NeoCon 2024?

NeoCon 2024 will take place from June 10-12, offering three days of immersive programming, product exhibitions, and awards programs. The Exhibit hall hours are:

  • Monday, June 10: 9:00AM – 5:00PM 
  • Tuesday, June 11: 9:00AM – 5:00PM 
  • Wednesday, June 12: 9:00AM – 3:00PM

The Chicago Merchandise Mart

Where is NeoCon held?

NeoCon is held annually at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart (THE MART). THE MART features almost 1 million square feet of exhibitor space for the industry’s major manufacturers and emerging companies across categories like furniture, fabrics, flooring, interior building products, interior finishes, and technology.

Who goes to neocon?

Each year at NeoCon, a diverse range of design professionals from markets such as Workplace, Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail, Education, Public Space, and Government come together to connect, learn, and conduct business. This includes designers, architects, end-users, manufacturers, dealers, service providers, associations, educators, students, and media.

The 1988 NeoCon convention The 2019 NeoCon convention

How many people attend neocon?

According to industry reports, NeoCon 2019 was the highest-attended show but given the post-pandemic attendance trend, NeoCon 2024 may meet or exceed that record.

  • NeoCon 2023: ~50,000 attendees
  • NeoCon 2022: ~40,000 attendees
  • NeoCon 2021: ~20,000 attendees
  • NeoCon 2020: Canceled
  • NeoCon 2019:  ~55,000 attendees

When did neocon start?

In June 1969, the National Exposition of Contract Interior Furnishings (NeoCon) held its first annual event, featuring a staggering 750 exhibitors and over 100 speakers and moderators who presented seminars and lectures. The scale of the event was unprecedented for the industry.

Andreu World's 2022 NeoCon showroom

How do you register for NeoCon?

You can register for NeoCon, as either an attendee or exhibitor, on the official NeoCon website. Admission for attendees is free. Attendees and exhibitors are required to check in and pick up their badges on the first floor of The Mart. Check-in is available:

  • Saturday, June 8: 8:00AM – 4:00PM 
  • Sunday, June 9: 8:00AM – 4:00PM 
  • Monday, June 10: 8:00AM – 5:00PM 
  • Tuesday, June 11: 8:00AM – 5:00PM 
  • Wednesday, June 12: 9:00AM – 3:00PM

What is the theme for NeoCon 2024?

The theme of NeoCon 2024 is “Design Takes Shape”. The theme will be present during the entire three-day show, as the design community gathers to discuss new methods of pushing the built environment forward.

NeoCon 2022's Best of NeoCon award ceremony

What awards are at neocon?

With the whole industry together, NeoCon is an ideal time to celebrate the products and people pushing the commercial interiors field forward.

  • Best of NeoCon – The official awards program for Neocon. Best of NeoCon 2023 will include entries across 56 product categories, and a diverse panel of expert judges from various fields, including commercial, healthcare, institutional, and hospitality sectors, will evaluate the submissions.
  • Interior Design’s HiP – Awards to recognize outstanding individuals and innovative products in the commercial design industry. The HiP Awards aim to acknowledge pioneers in the industry and recognize exceptional achievements in product design.
  • MetropolisLikes – Products handpicked by Metropolis editors that embody responsible innovation. They prioritize a positive experience for everyone while also being mindful of their impact on the planet and its ecosystems.
  • IIDA Showroom & Booth Design – Designed to recognize the creativity and visual appeal of showrooms and booths at NeoCon. The IIDA Showroom & Booth Design Competition celebrates the use of materials, space, color, texture, lighting, and graphics to create original and impactful spaces at NeoCon.

NeoCon 2023 attendees

Tips and Tricks for Getting the most of NeoCon

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, there are plenty of ways to maximize your time at NeoCon! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Get coffee on your walk to the MART. The first-floor Starbucks is wildly crowded on the mornings of the show. And, no, even scheduled mobile pick-up can’t help you.
  • There is no right or wrong way to dress, you’ll see everything from suits to hoodies. Just make sure you prioritize comfortable shoes, you’ll be on your feet all day.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Have a plan going into the day. As elevators often have long lines, it’s best to see all of one floor before heading to the next. And don’t be afraid to use the freight elevators, they often have a shorter line and can fit more people.
  • If you want to beat the crowds and take the stairs, elevator up to the top floor and work your way down. Your legs will thank you.
  • There is a coat and luggage check on the first floor.
  • If you’re flying into O’Hare, you can save the price of an Uber by taking the Blue Line into the city. Just buy a one-way pass and get off at the Clark/Lake stop.
  • Book appointments ahead of time with the manufacturers you want to see! While all showrooms will be open, you’re more likely to speak to a sales/design leader if you schedule a time to talk with the brand ahead of time.
  • Take pictures and videos! You may see something you’ll need on a project in 3 months.

What if I can’t make neocon?

There are plenty of other ways to get involved! It’s best to start with your local IIDA chapter, most have a local design convention. A few we know of:

NeoCon 2023 Loftwall showroom

What does the Loftwall showroom look like?

We thought you’d never ask! Located on the 10th floor between Via Seating and Prismatique, our showroom features beautiful ceiling baffles, colorful room dividers, and state-of-the-art architectural walls. Interesting in seeing it for yourself? We’d love to host you!


Article sources: NeoCon, The MART, IIDA, Interior Design, and Metropolis