Autex Acoustics, United States
Nov 15, 2023
We spend the majority of our time indoors, so it’s essential that the spaces we inhabit nurture well-being. As part of the construction industry, we can positively impact the people in spaces they come together to work, learn, and live in. By designing spaces that flatter our sensory and cognitive needs, we can improve how people experience spaces.
Design for well-being from the beginning. Creating a healthy space supporting health and well-being is about choosing the right products to solve the correct problems. One of those problems is noise. Noise can significantly negatively impact occupants, such as increased anxiety and stress, cognitive fatigue, low productivity, and, of course, it causes distractions and interruptions. Another issue is ensuring the space’s aesthetics make it comfortable and grounded. Therefore, we need to consider the acoustic and visual comfort of the area from the start of the design process.
We can achieve acoustic comfort when the environment controls noise within the space and facilitates effective communication and speech privacy.
Sound needs to be minimized from travelling between adjacent spaces to create speech privacy, meaning speech isn’t carried from one area into another. This might be from one office to another or from meeting room to meeting room. Acoustic privacy can be crucial for projects where confidentiality is required. To reduce sound transmission between spaces, you must address the entire wall system. This starts by looking at mass, isolation, insulation, and reverberation.
The ambient noise level (background noise caused by environmental sounds and noises from building services) also contributes to acoustic comfort. Things we can’t control, such as the buildings’ location or plumbing and mechanical systems, can also cause ambient noise levels to rise. But we can focus on space zoning, internal finishes, and controlling reverberation with acoustic materials to limit the ambient noise.
Controlling noise created by sound reverberation is vital in every space, especially in areas for concentration and focus, where it is important to convey information precisely. However, it is also critical to areas used for conferencing and collaboration, general and focused learning, formal meetings, and spaces for social engagement. We can control reverberation with acoustic materials that absorb reflected sound waves. These can be used on the walls, on the ceiling, or even on desk groupings.
The higher a material’s NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) and the greater the surface area of these noise-reducing surfaces, the shorter the reverberation time will be. For the best results, layer multiple acoustic solutions within the space.
To design for visual comfort, we can use principles like biophilic design and color to create welcoming spaces where people can thrive.
Biophilic design principles are widely used in buildings today because of their clear benefits to occupants. Our visual connection with nature has evolved from research1 on visual preference and responses to views of nature showing reduced stress, more positive emotional functioning, and improved concentration and recovery rates.
Beyond integrating direct experiences with nature, like plants, water features, and natural light, we can also look at how to use products that evoke nature. The surface area of acoustic treatments provides a rich canvas for incorporating biophilic design features representative of nature and culture – through color, printing, or sculpting the material and promoting well-being in spaces.
We must look at nature when choosing suitable colors to create a biophilic space. Naturally inspired colors help us feel better in the areas we occupy. For example, Caspian, Highland, Terrace, and Canyon are designed to reflect the earth’s natural wonders and are subtle interpretations of their original muse.
A dash of pink enlivens this softly sun-baked terracotta. A color reminiscent of summer, this friendly orange hue will add a sense of space and light to your room/surroundings.
Golden undertones imbue this delicate moss green with a subtle warmth. This muted earthy tone mimics a warm neutral and will revitalize a space without overpowering it.
Hovering between grey and blue, this stormy hue can be dramatic or subdued, depending on the environment. An alluring alternative to charcoal, deep green base notes make this complex color a chameleon capable of transforming a space.
A subtly hued alternative to warm grey, this dusky purple tone combines warmth and lightness to create a color capable of illuminating a space. Soft grey undertones ensure this shade is a sophisticated version of a traditional mauve.
Images of nature
A more literal take on biophilia, printing images of nature on surfaces can also bring a sense of calm to the space.
Utilizing patterns that occur in nature, like symmetries, spirals, meanders, waves, tessellations, cracks, and stripes, is a subtle way to bring the outdoors in. These can be incorporated easily through products like Frontier™, which create unique ceilingscapes.
Many textures in nature translate well to the built environment, like stone, bark, plants, and sand. We can even apply these to the surface of acoustic solutions. Acoustic Timber™ can also make spaces comfortable and promote creativity and comfort.
We can also sculpt the form of products to emulate our natural environment. We have a range of customization options available to create unique acoustic solutions for projects.
Autex Acoustics, United States
Nov 15, 2023