Skip to main content

2019 Tours

New this year, NeoCon in partnership with IIDA will offer NeoCon attendees a selection of designer-led tours featuring some of the latest and most innovative spaces in Chicago.

Registration is now open.

LinkedIn Chicago
Liz Potokar, Senior Project Designer, Gensler

Linked In Inside Design
  • Date Monday, June 10
  • Time 10 AM - 12 PM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location LinkedIn Offices, 525 West Monroe Street
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 9:30 AM.*

LinkedIn's Chicago office continues to grow and expand. Since completing a significant 40,000 sf expansion last year, Gensler has designed an additional 40,000 sf expansion that will be freshly completed in early June 2019. With an interconnecting stairway, unique amenities, and an open creative office, LinkedIn is focused on having a dynamic workplace that is infused with its brand story and closely connected to the energy of Chicago. This project relates to LinkedIn's core values of highlighting opportunity, growth and connection.

C.H. Robinson Chicago
Julie Engstrom, Senior Technical Project Designer, Vocon

Chr Voco 2
  • Date Monday, June 10
  • Time 2 PM - 3:30 PM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location C.H. Robinson Chicago, 515 W. Webster Avenue
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 1:30 PM.*

Vocon’s tenant fitout for C.H. Robinson evokes a warehouse loft with exposed structure & utilities, metal mesh railings, and exposed concrete floors. The 4-story center atrium with open metal stairs serves as a ‘town square’ for the company-- making the space visually and physically accessible throughout. The open office with 1800+ seats was fitted out entirely with sit-to-stand desks for flexibility; all seats have daylight and views. Amenities include a conference suite, training, café, serving kitchen, and roof terrace with city views. C. H. Robinson’s personality is on display in the model truck case that features client branding and throughout the experiential branding and graphics that span all four floors.

Willis Tower Catalog and Environmental Systems Design, Inc. (ESD)
Todd Heiser, Principal, Gensler, and Jim Prendergast, Principal, Gensler

Rv1 Willis Atrium 10
  • Date Tuesday, June 11
  • Time 10 AM - 12 PM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location Willis Tower, 233 S Wacker Drive
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 9:30 AM.*

Willis Tower captures the vibrancy of the city under one roof. From street to sky, it provides inviting hospitality and memorable experiences. It is an urban destination in the heart of downtown, delivering the best experiences of life and work to residents and visitors of Chicago. This tour, led by Gensler, will give a glimpse into "Catalog", the new, five-levels of dining, shopping, and immersive experience at the base of the tower. Then, we will see the new amenity spaces at the tower's transfer floors, before heading upstairs to Environmental System's Design, Inc. (ESD). A new headquarters for this engineering company, the space seamlessly integrates a professional service company with a living lab for engineers. Embracing a "no more, no less" tenet of engineering, every element is designed to make an impact.

Hotel Essex
Chris McDonough, Principal, Gettys Group and Lindsey Pickle, Project Designer, Gettys Group

2019 02 22 View 03
  • Date Tuesday, June 11
  • Time 1 PM - 3 PM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location Hotel Essex, 800 S. Michigan Avenue
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 12:30 PM.*

One of Chicago’s historic landmark buildings, the original 14-story Essex Inn was designed by A. Epstein and Sons. The building’s exterior architecture, including the steel and glass façade and the iconic rooftop “Essex Inn” sign will be restored and retained.

The interior renovation and redesign of the historic Hotel Essex is led by Chicago-based design firm The Gettys Group and is influenced by the original hotel’s Mid-Century Modern roots. Guests are welcomed into the hotel’s ground floor lobby with furnishings and décor with 1960s-inspired style, utilizing patterns, color palettes, and materials that modernize the hotel’s atmosphere.

“The mid-century modern design movement is classic, yet innovative,” says Chris McDonough, principal, The Gettys Group. “With Hotel Essex’s transformation, we wanted to convey the timelessness of the era in which the hotel was constructed, while bringing that vibe to the 21st century.”

TAO Chicago
Linda Daniels, Associate, Rockwell Group and Kevin Lee Yi, Interior Designer, Rockwell Group

Restaurant Overall
  • Date Tuesday, June 11
  • Time 5 PM - 6 PM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location TAO Chicago, 632 N Dearborn Street
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 4:30 PM.*

Join Rockwell Group on a tour of TAO Chicago, the architecture and design firm's 15th collaboration with TAO Group. Working within a historic 1892 landmark in downtown Chicago, Rockwell Group maintained the structure's soaring brick-walled spaces, arched windows, and special geometry and sight lines, adding TAO's Asian-influenced DNA for the four level restaurant and nightclub. Discover the surprising details, such as a restroom bar and lounge, and original artwork by Hush and others, that transports guests night after night.

McDonald's Headquarters
McDonald's Global Design Group

Mc Donalds Hq
  • Date Wednesday, June 12
  • Time 9 AM - 11 AM*
  • Fee $65
  • Location McDonald’s Global Headquarters, 1035 W Randolph St.
*Registration is required. Shuttle service from The Mart to the tour location will leave at 8:30 AM.*

Join the McDonald's Global Design Group, responsible for creating new restaurant experiences around the world, for a tour of the McDonald’s Global Headquarters. In 2018, McDonald's opened its centralized, global headquarters in the emergent Fulton Market district. The new headquarters is reflective of McDonald's innovative culture and brings together all employees, from the president to Hamburger University trainees, under one roof. The building was developed by Sterling Bay and designed by Gensler, with IA Interior Architects and Studio O+A leading the interior design and buildout.

This tour will be led by McDonald's Global Design Group leaders including

  • Juliana Strieff, Global Creative Design Lead
  • Scott Phillips, Sr Director Workplace Solutions
  • Emily Peckhart, Retail Design Manager
  • Traci Maher, Interior Designer
  • Josh Wesolowski, Retail Concept Designer
  • Peter Rivera-Pierola, Strategic Design Lead
  • Maria Macias, Global Facilities Designer

Living Products Showcase: A Tour of Neocon’s Healthy and Sustainable Products

Ilfi Logo Small
  • Date Tuesday, June 11
  • Time 2:30 PM - 4 PM
  • Fee $10
  • Location NeoCon, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza
  • Register Now

The Living Product Challenge was launched with a bold vision – to imagine beautiful, healthy products that make the world a better place. As the world’s most advanced third-party verified product certification, the Challenge empowers manufacturers to create products made of truly safe materials, informed by biomimicry and biophilia, and manufactured in factories powered by renewable energy and designed to foster worker and community health and happiness.

The International Living Future Institute, which is the driving force behind the Challenge, is excited to lead a tour at NeoCon to showcase manufacturers that have had the courage to dream big and achieve some of the first certified Living Products. Come learn about their efforts to maximize their positive handprints on the world, and see how specifying these products can support the sustainability goals of your organization and the spaces you’re designing.

Join your fellow designers, architects, and building owners to visit showrooms including 3Form / LightArt, Carnegie Fabrics, Humanscale, Metroflor, Mohawk, Tarkett, and Teknion. Please contact for any questions.

Exact times are subject to change. More detailed information (tour guide names, scheduling details, etc.) will be sent to registered attendees in advance of the tour date.

This tour complements, and will immediately follow, the CEU Seminar – [T218] Net Positive Materials: The Future of Sustainability”. Separate seminar registration is required.