Designers use a range of tactics to tackle the spread of noise in work spaces, from specifying sound-reducing carpeting and ceiling panels to the strategic orientation of furniture. Their curatorial consideration extends to the walls, where panels, textiles, and other finishes can further absorb sound and add flare. The following products pair performance and design to lower the volume without lessening the design aesthetic.
The Oslo, Norway–based studio is sprucing up textile acoustic wall panels by adding mirrors, polished brass, and stone to call out material variations. Designed in collaboration with Norwegian textile manufacturer Gudbrandsdalen Uldvarefabrikk, each Patch panel is encased in a white-stained pine frame, turning a contract staple into an unexpected decorative element. Available in spring 2015.
3D Acoustic Wall System, Seeyond Architectural Solutions
These colorful panels offer a minimum noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of 0.75 and a multifaceted surface that doubles as decor. Seeyond's 3D Acoustic Wall System can be specified with a 2" to 5" air gap and is made from polyester that contains up to 50% recycled plastic sourced from consumer beverage bottles.
From a studio known for its quirky office furnishings, BuzziShade dampens noise in open-plan spaces while helping to establish a sense of privacy. Offered in 16.5"- and 24.4"-tall sizes, it is clad in felt made from post-consumer recycled plastic that has an NRC of 0.20. Offered in the U.S. without electrical and lamping components.
Figure No. 2, Submaterial
Placitas, N.M.–based designer David Hamlin’s Figure No. 2 wallcovering uses 5mm-thick felt, which offers an NRC of 0.20, with cork to mitigate noise in a large-scale version of his studio’s wall hangings. It is offered in 12”-by-24” sections and in a choice of 42 colors.
Lite Wall, Teknion Studio
Padding the floors, walls, and ceiling may lower noise levels, but open-plan spaces often require the addition of partitions to facilitate zoning and manage sound. The Lite Wall freestanding screens attach with magnetic edges to render them readily re-configurable and come in three heights and a 48" width.