Each June manufacturers, designers, wholesalers, and patrons alike flock to Chicago’s renowned Merchandise Mart for the commercial furniture industries’ annual NEOCON conference. The countdown for 2019 has already begun! This year several members of Marathon’s furniture sales and interior design departments attended Steelcase’s Centralized Dealer Meeting from June 18-20.

One Chair, One Workplace

Steelcase SILQ 418 Work Chair

A single chair for today’s workplace?  Really?   It’s actually quite plausible, especially given the increase in demand from businesses and organizations seeking a more collaborative and flexible workplace.   Enhancements in multiple facets of today’s technology are happening at a robust pace, increasing the number of daily opportunities for workers to engage in short to intermediate interactions with co-workers and business partners.  A longstanding leader in office seating, Steelcase, Inc.’s introduction of the SILQ Work Chair captures the possibility of one chair handling all facets of today’s dynamic workplace.   Here’s how…

Strength and Simplification Via Technology

Recent advancements in material technology allow for SILQ’s streamlined simplicity.  Strong Carbon Fiber throughout the lower back and support area replace the complicated (and oftentimes heavy) chair mechanisms of the past.  Simplification of the mechanism is just the start, as SILQ’s intuitive design technology also eliminates the need for endless adjustment knobs, paddles, and levers.  A single height adjustment device is all the chair requires to adapt to users both large and small.

Design Spirit

Several selectable finish and color options give SILQ owners a multitude of design choices.  This writer recently had the opportunity to view and test sit several customized variations of SILQ, at Steelcase’s behemoth 3rd floor showroom located in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, IL.  The wow factor hit hardest on the SILQ floor model dressed in the triple duty (soft/breathable/durable) Brisa faux leather.  A soon-to-be available polished aluminum package was featured on a number of prototype floor models, putting all design-driven competitors on immediate and very nervous notice.  SILQ is on the map and on the rise.


Bordering the furniture displays was a separate showroom for Designtex, a Steelcase-owned company and industry leader in creating innovative applied materials for the commercial environment. Often associated with their upholstery offering, Designtex provides a comprehensive catalog of over 8,000 materials, including wall coverings, window coverings, films, and privacy curtains, along with an extensive customization and surface imaging program. This year’s showroom design was largely neutral to spotlight the vibrant colors, textures, and evolving capabilities of the company’s product portfolio.

Initially introduced at NeoCon in 2017, Casper Cloaking Technology remained among the most unique exhibitions. Casper, a name perhaps inspired by the infamous ‘friendly ghost,’ is an architectural film for glass walls that masks information displayed on digital screens from outside view. It is ideal for a variety of settings that require a level of data privacy, such as private offices, conference rooms, and collaborative spaces. Fifteen transparent patterns inspired by popular Designtex textiles can also be applied alongside the cloaking film for a subtle layer of visual privacy or as an aesthetic detail.

Designtex also presented the incorporation of Celliant® technology in the backing of select upholsteries. Celliant® fibers are characterized by their ability to absorb body heat, convert it to infrared energy, and reflect it back to the human body to be reused, making them a suitable choice for products ranging from workout clothing to arthritis gloves. Clinical tests involving chairs upholstered in Celliant® backed fabrics were shown to temporarily increase the user’s tissue oxygen levels and blood flow, a critical indicator of individual comfort and wellbeing. This innovation marks the first time such fibers have been introduced to seating textiles and won a Best of NeoCon 2018 Gold Award.



Steelcase – Partnerships and Acquisitions

It’s time to create new ideas, be agile, and make things happen faster than ever. It’s time to find inspiration in every corner and accomplish more than you ever thought possible. The work Steelcase does has changed and so should our office. And that’s why Steelcase is approaching things in new ways. At Steelcase, they have developed new products, new partners, and new technology to create destinations to help you love how you work. With more choices than ever before, we can help you design great places where people thrive and ideas flourish.

Steelcase is approaching things in a new way: new product introductions that support emerging needs

We all know work has changed and that means the places we work need to evolve. With more choices than ever before, we can help you design great places where people thrive and ideas flourish.

At NeoCon (the nation’s largest commercial furniture show) this year, Steelcase’s spaces represented an integrated offering across the family of brands, including products from Steelcase, Turnstone, Coalesse, Designtex, PolyVision, and our partners. They incorporated new stories, new products, new partners, and a new way to show the range of settings and aesthetics we can support as a family of brands. This includes everything from a new product that is orderable today to preview product and even product concepts.

In the past year, Metropolis Magazine called Steelcase “the most aggressive in lining up strategic partnerships.” This year at NeoCon, expect more excitement around our collaborations. Recently, one of our partners, Blu Dot, was awarded the prestigious Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, recognizing it for its inventive use of materials, fabrication technology, and assembly methods to produce furniture with a “playful sensibility.”

The Steelcase partners are playing a prominent part in our creation of inspiring and inviting spaces. Steelcase partners add to the company’s extensive portfolio, offering expanded design options easily accessed through the largest dealer network in the industry. This collaboration with some of the world’s best brands was a highlight of NeoCon.

We’re approaching things in a new way: complementary partners offering broad choice with greater ease

Partners are key to Steelcase’s strategy of providing convenient access to a broader range of compelling design options. Products from our partner companies were integrated throughout The Steelcase showrooms.

Here is a current list of Steelcase design partnerships…pretty AMAZING!

Our partners now include:

  • Arzu – ARZU rugs minimize environmental impact while maximizing fair labor practices in Afghanistan.
  • Blu Dot – designer and maker of modern furnishings, lighting and accessories
  • Carl Hansen & Son – through our unique partnership with Carl Hansen & Son, the contract furniture industry can now enjoy handcrafted, high-quality Hans Wegner designs imported directly from Denmark.
  • EMU – Established in Italy in 1951, EMU makes exceptionally crafted modern furniture that is beautiful, durable and comfortable.
  • Extremis – a new Americas partner specializing in outdoor furniture
  • FLOS – a renowned Italian lighting group with a collection of decorative pendant lights, sconces, table & floor lamps. Available in the U.S. and Canada
  • Microsoft our latest collaboration with Microsoft, along with our earlier work together developing Creative Spaces and Workplace Advisor, shows that technology can make a place more effective and that well-designed places can help technology be easier to use.
  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams – a leading home furnishings brand known for its focus on comfort and timeless design in upholstery, case goods, lighting, rugs, and accessories. Available in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Sagegreenlife – a new partner through Coalesse
  • SnapCab Pod – a new Americas partner in architectural products
  • Uhuru – a new Americas partner, available on Steelcase Marketplace
  • Viccarbe – Spain-based furniture manufacturer renowned worldwide for contemporary lounge settings
  • West Elm – a new Americas partner
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Creative by The Evoke Group.

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