Q&A with Rachel Wolf: A Designer's Take on NeoCon 2017

Posted 6/29/17 by Deborah Breunig in Healthcare

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NeoCon is always the premier event for the contract furniture industry. Designers, manufacturers and customers flock to Chicago the beginning of June to preview the latest innovative products and ideas.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing NeoCon 2017 with designer, Rachel Wolf. Rachel is a designer in the healthcare sector at CallisonRTKL. A Michigan native, Rachel moved to Chicago to attend Harrington College of Design. Prior to CallisonRTKL, Rachel worked for a company designing tradeshow booths. She enjoys baking, traveling, cooking, crafting a good cocktail and anything DIY. Here are her thoughts on the show and the latest in healthcare design:


What was the most exciting part of your visit to NeoCon 2017?

I enjoyed it all to be honest. I love seeing new products and getting a sense of the trends.

We sometimes hear from designers based in Chicago that they don’t attend NeoCon.  Is it true that if you work in Chicago you don’t attend NeoCon?  What is your preferred way of “experiencing” NeoCon? 

Who wouldn’t want to attend NeoCon? It’s a great excuse to get out of the office and inspire some creativity! As we all know, Monday and Tuesday can be pretty packed so over the years I’ve learned that if I want to take my time and really look at the showrooms I will go on Wednesday. However, I do attend all 3 days, just for different amounts of time each day.

What is your favorite part of NeoCon?

I love seeing all of the new products from the companies I use the most, but I also enjoy learning about new products from others. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one of my favorite parts of NeoCon is all of the parties!

Think back to your first NeoCon, how has your experience changed?

Over the years I’ve learned how to organize and prioritize my schedule. I structure it so that I can get through NeoCon on Monday and Tuesday relatively quick and still get back to the office to work.

What is your most recent design purchase/choice you've made for yourself?

My most recent purchase would be tile from Virginia Tile for our newly renovated laundry room/mudroom.

What attracted you to healthcare design? 

I’ve always had a natural interest in healthcare. When I first started college I thought I was going to study nursing, but after about 2 years I had a change of heart and knew that I wanted to be in healthcare design. I’m a balance of creativity and logic and I knew that healthcare design would be perfect for me. I am still making a difference for people and that makes me happy!

What trends are you noticing in the industry? 

As a whole, I think we will start to see more Microhospitals pop up over the next few years. Technology is ever changing in healthcare and we are starting to see that in the design industry now – from telemedicine to patients and the Doctor interacting with the families via a tablet if the family is unable to be there right away. I’m excited for the future of technology in healthcare. I love seeing and learning how it is going to shape the industry. Technology and creative jobs are the future and it’s exciting to see how we will be merging design with technology in a healthcare setting.

Deborah Breunig

About the author: Deborah Breunig

Vice President of A&D Marketing As Vice President of A&D Marketing, Deborah is responsible for building and nurturing relationships with significant influencers and decision-makers throughout the Architectural and Design community. Deborah has been a key marketing contributor to KI for more than 20 years. She most recently served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing – Healthcare. She is responsible for all aspects of A&D strategy; including business development and execution of strategic business and marketing plans. Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from Bellin College of Nursing and an EMBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a licensed registered nurse in the state of Wisconsin and an Evidence-Based Design Accredited Professional (EDAC) with the Center for Health Design.

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