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 four of this year's keynote presenters share a human-centric approach to design. 

Monday (KE1)
Amanda Williams, Artist
Amanda Williams in Conversation with Cheryl S. Durst

A Williams headshot bw
  • Date Monday, June 8, 2020
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, theMART
  • Register Now

Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Her creative practice employs color as a way to draw attention to the complexities of how race shapes how we assign value to space in cities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshapen most major US cities. Williams’ installations, paintings and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space and citizenship in America. Amanda has exhibited widely, including the MoMA (NY), the Venice Architecture Biennale, the MCA Chicago, and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. Amanda has been recognized as a Joan Mitchell Foundation grantee, a USA Ford Fellow, an Efroymson Arts Fellow and a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Amanda is also a member of the Obama Presidential Center's Museum Design Team and sits on the boards of the Graham Foundation, Garfield Park Conservatory and Hyde Park Art Center. Her work is in several permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago and the MoMA (NY). Williams lives and works on the south side of Chicago.

Amanda Williams will sit down with IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl S. Durst, to share insights on the intersections of design that helped shape her career.

Presented by
  • IIDA Logo

Tuesday (KE2)
Frans Johansson, Author and CEO of The Medici Group
The Medici Effect: Innovation at the Intersection

FJ Headshot bw Square
  • Date Tuesday, June 9, 2020
  • Time 8:00 AM
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, theMART
  • Register Now

An author, entrepreneur, and acclaimed international speaker, Frans Johansson has inspired readers and audiences worldwide with his ideas on leadership and success, innovation, and diversity, while his practical insights have empowered thousands to take action. Innovation legend Clay Christensen cited Frans’s debut book The Medici Effect as “one of the most insightful books on managing innovation that I have ever read,” while his follow up, The Click Moment, was hailed by Fast Company as the book that challenges traditional business-school thinking, and has been charged with destroying the 10,000 hour rule. Since its publication in 2004, The Medici Effect has become the definitive book on diversity driving innovation, influencing numerous industries and fields such as architecture, design, economic development, education, and investing.

In his role as thought leader and CEO of The Medici Group, Frans has advised executive leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, IBM, Nike, and Synchrony (formerly GE Financial). Frans has been featured on ABC, CNN, CNBC, the PBS Newshour, and National Public Radio and serves on the Board of Trustees of the New York Hall of Science. He has spoken to audiences on six continents, in virtually every industry, and across disciplines, from creatives to engineers, financiers to scientists, and politicians to humanitarians.

Raised in Sweden by his African-American/Cherokee mother and Swedish father, Frans has lived all his life at the intersection. He has written articles on healthcare, information technology, and the science of sport fishing. He has founded a software company, an international healthcare firm, and a hedge fund. Frans holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Presented by
  • ASID Logo

Tuesday (KE3)
Jeanne Gang, Architect and Founding Principal of Studio Gang
To be announced

Jeanne Gang 2019 Saverio Truglia square2
  • Date Tuesday, June 9, 2020
  • Time 1:00 PM
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, theMART
  • Register Now

Architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Int. FRIBA, is the founding principal and partner of Studio Gang, an internationally renowned architecture and urban design practice headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Paris. Her celebrated, award-winning designs arise from a distinctive approach that expands beyond architecture’s conventional boundaries to foreground relationships between individuals, communities, and their environment. Her diverse portfolio ranges from smaller-scale community and cultural projects to major work throughout the Americas and Europe, such as: the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York; the new United States Embassy in Brasilia, and Aqua Tower in Chicago. A Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Jeanne has this year been named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine and won her largest commission to date, the new Global Terminal at O’Hare International Airport.

Presented by
  • AIA Chicago Logo

Wednesday (KE4)
Markus Dochantschi, Architect and Founder and Principal of studioMDA
ARTseen

Studio MDA Dochantschi Portrait by studio MDA square
  • Date Wednesday, June 10, 2020
  • Time 11:00 AM
  • Fee Free (Registration Required)
  • Location NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, theMART
  • Register Now

Markus Dochantschi is the founder and principal of studioMDA. studioMDA was founded in New York City in 2002 with the mission of challenging the boundaries of design. Before starting studioMDA, Dochantschi ran the office of Zaha Hadid Architects for seven years and was Head Project Architect on the Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center in Cinncinati.

He has taught an Advanced Studio at Yale University with Zaha Hadid, Stefan Behnisch and Gerald Hines (2003), and an Advanced Studio at Columbia University’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) from 2008 until 2017.

Dochantschi has also served as the director of the Global Cities Architecture Program (GCAP) at GSAPP. He has been a Guest Lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and a guest critic at the AA London; Columbia University, NY; The Cooper Union, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Princeton University, Princeton; the ETH Zurich, Switzerland; the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst Vienna, Austria.

Presented by
  • AIA Chicago Logo