How does acoustics sound?
NOISE CAN BE DISTRACTING. Even reading those words in a loud voice in your head (don’t pretend you didn’t!) is off putting and jarring when in the wrong place. Acoustics attempt to negate as much unnecessary noise as possible, allowing for people to work in considerable quiet in an otherwise very open and/or active space. There’s nothing worse than getting a headache from a place that you spend most of your waking hours through no fault of your own. This is why acoustic barriers have been involved and acoustic structure implemented within interior design for years. Even the Roman Colosseum built in 70AD had acoustic design in mind, and your office should not be left without.
There are two main key areas that need careful attention in regard to acoustic structure and they are meeting rooms and open spaces. Meeting rooms require sound to not only stay out but also stay in; a very important conference call or meeting would not be improved with background noise which could put off everyone involved. On the other hand, if a meeting is particularly confidential, it would be best if those outside could not listen in. Therefore a sound barrier has to be made without harming the overall aesthetic of the space, such as it wouldn’t be much appreciated if sound buffer pads were to be stuck onto a floor-to-ceiling glass wall! It has to be more subtle than that. The advent of dividers and clever sound trapping pads that can be stuck of floors, walls or ceilings can mean a quick and easy fix. To further increase sound quality, the specific design of the furniture and layout can drastically affect the end result.
In an open plan space, the similar effect is desirable, while individuals should be able to hear each other through discussion across some distance, you don’t want the sounds to echo and negate as much reverb as possible. In the much larger environment of an open space area, there is much more choice in terms of design as there is more room to work with. The current trend of industrial office areas is to increase the effectiveness of acoustic control while maintaining a high level of design and style. It used to be the case to have to make the decision of which one you wanted (you couldn’t have both), but now with developed technologies allowing for a lot more customisation and personalization choices, there doesn’t have to be a trade off anymore.
How you implement your acoustic design is also up to personal preference, whether it be through free standing screen, in-built wall panels, or suspended ceiling acoustics. The former being the most intrusive into the work space and the latter being the least. Free standing screens allow for a dynamic space that can be changed as and when needed, such as a team has to temporarily set up for a project, or someone particularly needs some peace and quiet for an important piece of work. In-built wall panels do not necessarily have to be garish and an eye sore, contemporary pieces can actually be features of a wall or interior design centrepieces. They can add a level of colour and/or texture with its functionality that just a painting or mural couldn’t offer. Suspended ceiling acoustics allow for an acoustic solution without changing anything about a rooms design at eye level, removing it from the immediate eye sight of the office. This however will lead to reduced effectiveness compared to the other designs as they are physically removed from blocking out sound, and thus will only reduce reverb in the space they occupy.
There are many options when it comes to form and layout of acoustic design, view our portfolio to see how Stirling has incorporated both seamlessly, just click here.