Silence is Golden

Sound-absorbing designs create an island of calm in any noisy work space.

As we adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the new economy, our offices are changing along with our work habits: Employers and employees are all trying to do more with less. The widespread adoption of open-plan offices over the past decade, however, has produced mixed results—it’s clear that this isn’t exactly the right solution for everyone. Many people today are choosing to work from home or somewhere other than the office to avoid the inevitable distractions of a partitionless workplace. According to a Steelcase/Harris Interactive survey, 95 percent of employees say it’s important to have access to quiet places for focused work, and 50 percent of office workers feel their spaces do not prevent noisy distractions. Moreover, acoustical privacy (at 56 percent) is the most important attribute for professionals on the move who need fixed places to work. Thankfully, manufacturers and designers are developing a wide range of solutions to reduce or mask office noise.Here’s our selection of sound-reducing and sound-absorbing products that help turn any distracting space into a quiet oasis.

Clockwise from Top:
CRÉATION BAUMANN FOR CARNEGIE ALPHACOUSTIC FABRIC
This sheer Trevira CS Polyester fabric has a unique construction and yarn that gives it the acoustic properties of a heavy fabric, while allowing light to pass through. It comes in 16 colors.
www.carnegiefabrics.com

BUZZISPACE BUZZIBOOTH
This “phone box,” designed by Alain Gilles, is made of sound-insulating felt that dampens outside sounds, allowing you to make a quick phone call or work on your laptop in peace.
www.buzzispace.com

VITRA WORKBAY SYSTEM
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s office system provides semi-private spaces in common areas. A new polyester fleece material with exceptional sound-absorption shuts out background noises.
www.vitra.com

Left:
STEELCASE V.I.A. WALLS
This Vertical Intelligent Architecture (V.I.A.) wall system is designed to support the creative process. It hosts the latest large-scale video and display technologies, offers acoustic privacy, and easily reconfigures to suit new needs.
www.steelcase.com

Right:
OFFECT SOUNDWAVE PIX
Not only can these panels, designed by Jean-Marie Massaud and inspired by keyboard keys, help reduce distracting sounds, they can also create unique spaces through combinations of the system’s color and form options.
www.offect.se

Clockwise from Top:
LUCEPLAN PÉTALE LAMP
The organic shape of this suspension lamp, by Odile Decq, consists of a sound absorbing panel upholstered in white fabric. It improves acoustic comfort in any interior, and is available in two sizes.
www.luceplanusa.com

HAWORTH WINDOWSEAT CHAIRS
Mike and Maaike Studio blurs the line between furniture and architecture, creating a personal zone in a public setting. The upholstery, in the Kvadrat Divina Mélange fabric, dampens sound.
www.haworthcollection.com

COALESSE MASSAUD LOUNGE WITH CANOPY
The canopy of Jean-Marie Massaud’s concept lounge can indicate if the occupant does not want to be disturbed. It also allows users to conduct live-video or conference calls in a public space.
www.coalesse.com

Left:
ABSTRACTA PLAID PANELS
These soft panels, designed by Form Us with Love and made from laminated felt and fabric, can act as a room divider, suspended from the ceiling or standing on the floor.
www.abstracta.se

Right:
MOROSO MALFADA CHAIR
Patricia Urquiola reinterprets traditional wood-framed seating by applying a new concept to the backrest and upholstery. The waves in the shell are formed using new molding technology, in a material that is both recycled and recyclable—as well as flexible and soft to the touch.
www.moroso.it

Left:
INTERFACE NET EFFECT CARPET
This modular collection features three square carpet tiles that together evoke the sea. Each tile contains up to 81 percent recycled content, including recycled yarn made from carpet fluff and commercial fishing nets.
www.interface.com

Right:
BROOK&LYN BLACK AND WHITE ASYMMETRIC RYA
This thick, tactile tapestry, by Mimi Jung and Brian Hurewitz, is made of cotton and wool yarns on a copper rod and is handwoven in Los Angeles.
www.brookandlyn.com

Left:
ARMSTRONG CREATE! CEILING PANELS
These panels, made of either mineral fiber or fiberglass, can be printed with any image. They also absorb sound and can contribute to LEED credits.
www.armstrong.com

Right:
MAHARAM NANO POINT PANEL FABRIC
This panel fabric from the MegaNano collection, designed by Bruce Mau, is based on punch cards from the origins of our computerized society. It is made of 100 percent post-industrial recycled polyester.
www.maharam.com

Left:
KINNARPS PRIM DESK SCREEN
This screen, by Christian Halleröd, can be used on desktops, ceilings, or floors. It uses re:fill, a 100 percent recyclable material made of the company’s own waste materials, polyester, and PET.
www.kinnarps.org

Right:
PROOFF EARCHAIR
The wings of these chairs, designed by Studio Makkink & Bey, extend outward to acoustically and visually insulate users when placed facing each other, creating a place for private conversations.
www.prooff.com

Left:
URBANEARS PLATTAN HEADPHONES
These headphones project a rich sound and come in vivid colors, with ZoundPlug for instant music sharing and a built-in microphone for picking up calls.
www.urbanears.org

Right:
ZILENZIO DEZIBEL FLOOR SCREEN
These lollipop-shaped sound-absorptive screens, by Note Design Studio, are used to create a more balanced sound level as well as add a colorful accent to a room.
www.zilenzio.se

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Old to new | New to old
Oct 31, 2013 05:53 am
 Posted by  Natacha

Awesome! I had seen some brilliant stuff by Studio Makkink & Bey right here: http://www.archiexpo.com/prod/prooff-89223.html . I love what they do and the patterns they use. The MOROSO MALFADA CHAIR is pretty great too!

Nov 3, 2013 10:49 pm
 Posted by  diamond design

Great suggestions for creative solutions to noise in open offices.

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