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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.