Skip to main content


Keynote Presentations

The NeoCon exhibition is complemented by world-class programming featuring some of the most creative minds and productive talents in the industry. All three of this year's keynote presentations will address the most important aspect in designing a built environment:  the people inhabiting the space.

[KE1]
Design without Boundaries
Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Founders, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors, New York

Keynote 2019 Standefer Alesch
  • Date Held on Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

Having first worked together for a decade designing sets for Hollywood films, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch founded Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors in 2002.  The pair have forged an ability to create projects without boundaries or borders, employing a range of materials, objects and references—from the unexpected to the pedigreed to the mundane. They are designers of interiors, buildings, furniture and objects whose philosophy has spearheaded a movement in the industry against corporate modernism. The spaces they create reflect the narrative of the people who occupy them as well as the couple’s singular vision which gives their design a sense of power and cohesion.  

Presented by
  • IIDA Logo

[KE2]
The Human Approach
Ilse Crawford, Creative Director and Founder, Studioilse, London

Keynote 2019 Crawford
  • Date Held on Tuesday, June 11, 2019
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

Ilse Crawford is a designer, academic and creative director with a simple mission:  to put human needs and desires at the center of all she does. As founder of Studioilse, together with her multi-disciplinary, London-based team, she brings her philosophy to life. This means creating environments where humans feel comfortable; public spaces that make people feel at home; and homes that are habitable and make sense for the people who live in them. It means designing furniture and products that support and enhance human behavior and actions in everyday life. It means restoring the human balance in brands and businesses that have lost their way.

Presented by
  • ASID Logo

[KE3]
Do No Harm: The Role of Design in Complicated Times
Liz Ogbu, Founder and Principal, Studio O, New York

Keynote 2019 Ogbu
  • Date Held on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
  • Time 11 AM
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

A designer, urbanist and spatial justice advocate, Liz Ogbu is founder and principal of Studio O, a multidisciplinary consultancy working to innovate challenged urban environments globally. From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the US to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of working with communities in need to leverage the power of design to catalyze sustained social impact. Her work blends human-centered design research methodologies, architecture and equitable development principles, cross-disciplinary design thinking frameworks and social agendas.  

Presented by
  • AIA Chicago Logo