Neocon is an annual event hosted by TheMART that features over 500 leading companies in commercial design and business industries. There’s over 4 million square feet of building to work with, and getting to take part in its transformation is always an exciting time for us.
We’ve been working with TheMART for well over 20 years. The first signage we ever created for them was for the Chicago International Antiques and Fine Arts Fair in 1998. We created these gigantic vinyl banners that hung on the outside of the building. Talk about a throwback!
A lot has changed over the years. Our contributions to Neocon are a little more involved these days, but the one thing that always stays the same is our excitement to dive head first into this event.
Neocon 2019 was maybe the wildest ride to date. We designed and installed over 15,000 square feet of specially formulated material for over 30 clients exhibiting at the show.
We handled all the production, installation, and management of a lot of moving parts, which even included all the exterior signage for the building itself. Over the course of the event we did five different removals and installations on the outside of the building alone.
Whew! Who needs a breather? Not us.
You might think an event of that scale means that we hire a massive crew to get it all done. But fun fact: There’s only so much union labor available in Chicago for applying graphics. It’s a good thing we’re able to work with some pretty talented people. We hired an amazing installation crew and got to work, installing wall coverings, banners and window graphics. You name it, we probably did it.
What did all of this work actually entail? Well, over 15,000 square feet of print for one thing. And, surprisingly, a lot of foam as well. You might look at the photos and say, “Foam? Where?” Take a closer look at the lettering in some of those spaces. Looks acrylic, right? Surprise! It’s actually painted foam.
One of the most interesting designs we installed was for BuzziSpace. This design was created in a walk-through space that we turned into a modern jungle. The piece was placed in a high traffic area of TheMART, and was only up for three days before we took it back down again. What we love about the exhibits at Neocon is that the majority of them are designed to be experiential for the guests. And in that regard, BuzziSpace definitely knocked it out of the park.
Another favorite from the show were the wall graphics we created for Pedrali. Cushions were hung above an escalator that created a very surreal and attention-grabbing look. We helped pull it all together by giving the escalator a custom look that matched.
No walls are meant to go bare, if you ask us. A prime example is the elevator wrap we did for Steelcase. Neocon infuses life into every inch of TheMART, and no elevator is left behind.
Partnering with TheMART and jumping into Neocon every year is always an adrenaline rush, and it’s a little sad when it’s over. One thing is for certain though. This event always kicks our creative juices into high gear and we carry that energy into all of our upcoming projects. It’s a win-win for everyone.
See you next year, Neocon!