Published by:
February 12, 2020

Acoustic ABCs

At the recent ABX conference in Boston, acoustic consultants Ioana Pieleanu and Kelsey Rogers of Acentech, delivered an excellent best practices session for dealing with today’s often cacophonic office environments.

Designers interested in creating more habitable workspaces must remember their ABCs: absorb it; block it; cover it. “ABC works together—it is really not one or the other, ” said Rogers. Wall panels and absorbent ceiling panels are the most common means to implement the “A” technique, as hard ceilings simply carry conversations further than anyone wants them to go. And while many won’t want to hear it, as far as “B,” the consultants noted the good old cube, at least a full divider, played a big role in controlling noise, and still can. The good news, noted Pieleanu, is that there are lots of dividers with clear or translucent tops that still accomplish some noise reduction, while letting light pass. “C”—covering or masking, involves using an electronic device as a background. “You don’t want total quiet,” said Pieleanu, adding the sound from such machines is different than that of mechanical systems, which emit a lower-frequency noise most don’t find appealing. Sound-masking tech, which is not loud, is also an easier, after-the-fact fix, but is just part of the mix. Another “C”—Culture—should not be overlooked. “Etiquette matters. The way the space is used matters, and how loud people speak in certain areas matters. So, don’t put public areas next to work stations,” said Pieleanu.

Below are some acoustic products that caught our attention that might help you with your ABCs.

New & Noteworthy

No Blue Blocker

Knocking down sound, but not daylight, the ILTUO acts as a room division system with options to incorporate 3form’s translucent Varia Ecoresin material, as well as its acoustic Sola Felt. As a customizable and highly configurable product, the hardware system allows for variable height requirements, from half wall to full floor to ceiling heights. Designers can use Varia’s writable finish to turn ILTUO’s interior or exterior surface into a collaboration tool.

More product info

All-Pro Blocker

The Beyond pavilion is a demountable partition system, featuring a rich set of materials and configurations that helps users reclaim unused vertical real estate in the open plan, creating environments from solo to collaborative, while supporting technology and power routing. The system supports marker boards, tackable materials and can be constructed with frameless glass, framed glass and solid panel options.

More product info

Ceiling Solution

The most common complaint of occupants in open or exposed structure design is noise. Smooth textured Lyra PB Direct-Apply panels both offer architects, designers and owners a cost-effective way to reduce unwanted sound in exposed structure spaces, including both new construction and retrofit applications. The Lyra PB Direct-Apply ceiling and wall panels from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions can be installed directly to deck and wall surfaces with recommended ceiling adhesive. The product offers easy adhesive installation, a variety of design options and excellent sound absorption

More product info

Organic Dampener

Botanic, is a decorative leaf-shaped, sound- absorbing panel with patented technology held by chrome metal support that can be fixed with different inclinations and proposed in combination with different bearing structures. It is available in three versions: wall, ceiling-mounted and free-standing

More product info


Panels in a Variety of Metal Options

The Dri-Design Metal Panel System can be manufactured in a wide variety of metal options. With the capability to produce panels from Aluminum, Zinc, Stainless Steel, Weathering Steel and virtually any flat or lightly embossed metal, the options are nearly endless. Different materials can also be used in conjunction with other options, like shadow, tapered and perforated series panels. Regardless of design choice, Dri-Design’s patented and highly tested attachment and water management system is at the foundation of everything we do. Aesthetic versatility and performance in one system.

More product info

Perforated Metal Creates Visual Interest

Moving Everest Charter School’s vivid architecture includes a wall of PAC-CLAD perforated 7/8” Corrugated panels dramatically installed in front of supergraphic gray-scale images of studious and smiling children that clearly show through perforated metal panels. A 4-in. cavity between the ACM and the PAC-CLAD perforated panels in charcoal finish creates an eye-catching visual effect. The perforations are 3/8-in. on 9/16-in. centers.

More product info

Mobile Device Holder

Studies suggest that as many as 75 percent of Americans admit to using their phones while in the bathroom. To help design professionals address modern patron behaviors, Bobrick’s new B-635 Klutch Mobile Device Holder keeps devices safe and secure within toilet cubicles and throughout the restroom environment.

Klutch has a sleek, compact design that fits with any décor and is easily installed in toilet compartments, common spaces and private areas. Its integrated bag hook holds up to 300 lbs. and can accommodate multiple items, from smartphones to tablets to bags.

More product info

Now birds see it, now you don’t.

Guardian Bird1st glass is the clear answer for safer birds year-round. It offers the right balance of solar performance, aesthetics and bird safety — so you can start designing your bird-friendly building through one trusted source.

A patent-pending UV stripe coating on the first surface is virtually invisible to the human eye in dry conditions. Views remain pristine unlike traditional ceramic frit solutions, all while helping to protect birds. The stripe coating visually signals an impending barrier to birds and helps prevent collisions. With an acceptable Avoidance Index score from the American Bird Conservancy, the product follows the 2x2 rule to account for different sizes and species of birds.

Paired with select Guardian SunGuard low-E coatings, Bird1st glass offers the high performance you want and need.

More product info

Structural Thermal Barriers Save Energy

While Azon does not make windows, the company does offer turnkey technology for the manufacture of polyurethane polymer thermal barrier aluminum fenestration. Using thermal barriers to improve energy savings in the window assembly helps manufacturers meet strict energy codes and standards worldwide, ranging from monumental architectural to residential aluminum window classes. The newest ultra-performance Azo-Core high-density foam thermal barrier by Azon contains the best combination of energy efficiency and the highest shear strength of all thermal barriers used in the most demanding climates and conditions.

More product info