Noisy workspace getting you (or your employees) down? Here are nine acoustic solutions
These noise-reducing products boost acoustic comfort in the workspace – no matter where that is.
At home, in the office, or wherever you work, acoustic discomfort can be a day-breaker. In fact, 2018 research by online learning and teaching marketplace Udemy found that talkative coworkers and office noise were the two biggest distractions in the workplace, with between 70-80 per cent of respondents citing the attention-zappers. Now, with many working from their living space, the list of potential acoustic offenders multiplies: restless kids home on summer break, non-stop lawn mowers and all-day construction are just to name a few. While many of the below acoustic products address the office space, their utility can benefit a work-from-home set-up and other workspaces as well. Ergonomic chairs and tables are essential – but so too are tools that can help give back some of that focus lost from an endless list of loud disturbances.
For those looking to retreat for a moment’s pause in crowded public spaces or an office space, Lapso is a solution. The Lesur & Venot-developed vertical hammock, which was awarded with the 2014 Hermès award for Best Author design and recently added to Sancal’s portfolio, is affixed to walls, inviting people to lean back and have some privacy. Curved upholstered panels create an acoustically friendly hood should the user need to make a call or listen to a message; five mesh colours are available to customize the furnishing with. ‘As a “do not disturb” signal,’ says a spokesperson, ‘Lapso communicates that “you are on a parenthesis”.’
There’s nary an open-plan office not in need of partition solutions now that social distancing will be around for the foreseeable future. BuzziSpace’s BuzziPlanter offers a biophilic vision of workspace boundaries. With high-density foam and a layer of fabric, the colourful planter pots not only host mood-and-health-boosting greenery and create division, but aid in making spaces more acoustically friendly. BuzziPlanter comes in six different sizes and can be grouped to meet a variety of interior needs within the office.
Making it possible to section out spaces efficiently, Ondarreta’s Ola room divider can be used separately or with multiple fittings linked together. Its upholstered structure provides acoustic comfort while an accompanying accessories collection makes the dividers adaptable to any area. Ola was developed by Spanish designer Silvia Ceñal.
MUTE FLOW FLOATING LIGHT
Intended for commercial interiors such as open-plan offices and restaurants, De Vorm’s Mute Flow Floating Light is made from PET Felt, a sustainable, porous material that effectively absorbs noise. The universal ceiling-hanging panel can be selected in 11 different colour blends ranging from turquoise to pink and many custom hues for the powder-coated steel tubes.
Answering to the need for office spaces that can easily be adapted, added to and reconfigured, Faram’s Bahlara furniture collection by Egidio Panzera allows users to integrate functions and personalize all elements. Bahlara’s heat-sealed, soundproof textile partitions can be subdivided every 20 cm, guaranteeing visual and acoustic privacy between employees. The collection’s worktops are quickly modifiable and encourage ergonomic positioning.
Designed by Stefano Gallizioli for Italian furniture group Estel, Dolly Chat – consisting of sofas, armchairs and modular benches – is a targeted solution for common areas in open-space offices. Two benches or sofas are connected by a technical panel, forming an enveloping shape that guarantees sound insulation. Its Privè iteration, with 2-4 seats, electrified table and lighting, carves out an area for small meetings.
Photo: Mårten Ryner
A pioneer in acoustic furniture and display systems, Abstracta aims to always create better soundscapes. The most recent addition to their offer is dB Pillar, a line by Thomas Bernstrand that includes noise-reducing tables, stools and pillars in mixed heights. The furnishings fall in line with Abstracta’s circular vision, too: the structures are filled with textile waste from the company’s factory
Acoustic LED system Linea, a new offering from manufacturer Luxxbox, gives two-in-one benefit: the slim, refined design has superior noise-absorption capabilities as well as lighting performances. The fixtures, which come in a range of lengths, heights, finishes and colours, can be used independently as well as in a group in cafes, classrooms, boardrooms, offices and more.
Woven Image has bolstered its collection of tactile wall panels with Ion, an embossed, acoustic surface for commercial environments. Ion’s design, evoking an ‘asymmetrical crystalline effect’, is inspired by Japanese design and the geometric shapes of origami and folded paper. The range is made from 100 per cent PET, with a recycled non-woven backing and coloured surface – of which seven hues are available.
Read more roundups here.