Interior Design: What do you expect to get out of NeoCon this year?
Primo Orpilla: Well, I come every year. I've been coming for the past 20 years. So in our specific industry, I'm looking for product that is going to help me solve a problem in our particular market, which is what it's all about. Everybody has a different look a feel, so what's appropriate for company A may not be appropriate for company B, so I'm just kind of looking to get a feel for what the majors are doing, what the smaller guys are doing - I love all these brands! This is partially inspired by knowing what is in the marketplace. There is no real offering in this marketplace that has got it all covered at this point.
ID: How much - if any - business will you actually transact this year?
PO: Oh yeah. We definitely do, with clients. We typically fly two or three clients out here to walk the showrooms. Not in an effort to land a deal, but in effort to give them information so that when we get to the specing part, they know what's out there.
ID: Based on prior years, what are the must-see booths?
PO: All the majors, we'll go to Steelcase, Herman Miller, Teknion, and we'll go to all the spin-off companies like Turnstone and Coalesse. I always can tell you what Haworth has done from one year to the next to meet that opening, and that's fun for us! We follow design like sports, we have to know because our marketplace is pretty sophisticated and they want to know - they already know! We just need to have the background so that we can speak to them.
ID: Is there anything you are especially looking forward to?
PO: Gosh, I'm a keynote speaker here at OFS on Tuesday, so I'm frightened by that. So I'm looking forward to after the presentation! No, to me, it's interesting because I don't think we had as much of a voice five years ago, we were just one little firm in Silicon Valley, but since the focus to the workplace is up, and there's this pivot that everyone is experiencing, and that we partake in, it's fun to see what the manufacturers and everybody is doing. Because I think there's a little bit of the unknown - a lot of the unknown, regarding how that's going to play out throughout the United States. We're one little microcosm of that, but we're applying that to other places. It's evident that people are changing their mindset about the workplace. It's exciting to see what everybody is trying to do!
ID: Is it all work once you're here, or do you get to do/see some things just for fun?
PO: Oh yeah! Tomorrow, and tonight - we'll go to the COOL ball and Interior Design's Giants party. I'm all for it!