Contract - July/August 2013 - (Page 16)
pHoto: Meg Walton
Being Present to See the Future
In these dog days of summer, we can hopefully all take some time off
post-NeoCon® and before the fall trade show and conference season
begins in earnest. August can be relatively quiet for architecture and
design industry events, and that makes it a perfect time to reflect on
what the trade shows and conferences mean to the profession and
industry in this digital, connected age.
Trade shows like NeoCon, and conferences and conventions
such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention, are
top of mind for me lately. I’m the only editor serving on an advisory
committee for NeoCon 2014, and I am chairman of the AIA Convention
Advisory Committee for the 2014 AIA National Convention to be held
in Chicago, June 26–28.
We’re all on the go, all the time, and don’t always take time to
consider why we attend industry events, what they offer, and how they
enrich our professional lives. What do you like to see in a trade show,
conference, or convention? When budgets are tight, why do you
choose to attend in this time when so much information is available
electronically anytime, anywhere?
Nearly 42,000 people crammed into the elevators and corridors
of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart for NeoCon this past June, getting a
first look at new furnishings and products, connecting with colleagues
and friends, and learning from continuing education sessions and
keynotes by design leaders including Lauren Rottet. And Contract
presented the Best of NeoCon Awards for the top products at the
show (see the winners, beginning on page 45).
The 2013 AIA Convention in Denver attracted thousands to
see keynotes by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes (page 138),
Cameron Sinclair, and Colin Powell, as well as attend numerous
continuing education sessions, receptions, and tours. Emerging
professionals and young architects were highlighted at this
convention at a level unlike any previous AIA gathering.
In coming months, we look forward to HD Americas (preview,
page 24)—a conference presented by our colleagues at Hospitality
Design—in Miami Beach, September 24–25. Formerly HD Boutique,
the show is now rebranded as HD Americas with a particular focus
on the hospitality industry in Latin America. And we know many of
you also will plan for fall events such as Cersaie and Greenbuild, and
conferences on healthcare design as well as those with a regional focus.
So what attracts thousands to take time away from their
practices and make the effort to attend an industry event? We yearn
to connect with those that are doing similar work, to learn and grow
as professionals, and there is only so much connection possible
via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or as an avatar in Second Life
(and that’s so 2006). In short, it’s about being present, and it’s about
experiences—in person and face-to-face—with those in the same
industry. Social media and online information augment, but do not
replace, those tangible experiences.
In discussions about conventions and trade shows, people
often bring up the Milan Furniture Fair, but not only for the furniture in
the exhibition halls. Rather, what is memorable is the variety of other
happenings throughout the city during that eventful April week.
To be sure, while the events are related to design and products,
the human experience is key. It’s about getting a glimpse of the future
by seeing trends, technological advances, and creative solutions. It’s
about being present—together as a profession and industry, and not in
our silos—to see the future. The need for that experience is not going
away, but how do we enhance it? I welcome your input.
also in this issue
After the Best of NeoCon section in this issue, you’ll see five fantastic
international interiors featured (beginning on page 109) with a focus
on Europe (think of it as an August European holiday, even if you
are reading this in your office). I also encourage you to read about
the winners of the 5th annual Inspirations Awards (page 138),
sponsored by Tandus Flooring, which celebrate leadership in
socially responsible design.
Enjoy this issue, and I’ll see you at an event this fall!
John Czarnecki, assoc. aia, Hon. iida
editor in Chief
july | august 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - July/August 2013
Contract - July/August 2013
Columnist: Tips on Developing Winning Proposals
Product Focus: Geometry Rules
Product Focus: From Brazil to London
Product Focus: Drawn from the Sea
best of NeoCon®
Competition: Inspirations Awards
Designers Select: Surfacing
Exhibition: MoMA Explores the Design Mind of Le Corbusier
Contract - July/August 2013