Autex Acoustics, United Kingdom
Nov 15, 2023
As people, we spend a lot of time indoors, with the design of our interior spaces directly impacting an occupant’s mental and physical well-being. As a manufacturer of building materials, we hold a unique position where we can create solutions to positively impact people in spaces they work, learn, and live in. By designing for our sensory and cognitive needs, we have the ability to improve and shape how a space is experienced.
How can we help?
Design for well-being from the start of your project. To create a healthy environment promoting health and well-being, you must carefully select the right products to solve your particular issues.
Noise plays a big role in this and can have a negative impact on occupants, increasing anxiety and stress, cognitive fatigue, lowering productivity, and creating distractions. Another issue is ensuring that the aesthetics complement this, creating a comfortable environment. That is why we need to consider both acoustic and visual comfort from the beginning of the design process.
Creating an acoustically comfortable environment requires effective controls of noise levels to be implemented. This reduces the chances of occupants being negatively impacted by excess noise and promotes effective communication and speech privacy.
Sound must be blocked from travelling between adjacent spaces to create speech privacy. This can be from office to office or from one meeting room to another. This is particularly important for projects like the MC Centre, where confidentiality is crucial. For this, the entire wall system must be addressed to reduce the sound transmission between spaces. This requires a review of mass, isolation, insulation, and reverberation.
The ambient noise level (background noise caused by environmental sounds and noises from building services) within a space also contributes to acoustic comfort. This is usually caused by things we can’t control, like a building’s location or plumbing and mechanical systems. Using features like space zoning, internal finishes, and controlling reverberation with acoustic materials are great ways to limit ambient noise.
To control noise created by sound reverberation, it is best to focus on areas for concentration and focus, particularly where it is important to convey information. On top of this, it is also vital to areas used for conferencing and collaboration, general and focused learning, formal meetings, and spaces for social engagement.
The higher the NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rating and the larger the surface area of these noise-reducing surfaces, the shorter the reverberation time. You can layer multiple acoustic solutions within the space to get the best results.
When designing with visual comfort in mind, we need to utilise principles like biophilic design and colour to make welcoming environments where everyone can thrive.
Biophilic design principles are commonly used due to their clear benefits for occupants. The visual connection we have 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.
On top of direct experiences with nature, like plants, water features and natural light, we can also look at how to use products to evoke nature. Acoustics treatments are a canvas for incorporating biophilic design features representing nature and culture. This can be achieved through the use of colour, printing, or sculpting the material and promoting well-being in spaces.
We must look at nature when choosing suitable colours to create a biophilic space. Naturally inspired colours help us feel better in the areas we occupy. For example, colours like 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 colour 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 revitalise 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 colour 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 colour capable of illuminating a space. Soft grey undertones ensure this shade is a sophisticated version of a traditional mauve.
Images of nature
This is a literal take on biophilia, taking images of nature and printing them on surfaces to help bring a sense of calm to a space.
There are a range of patterns in nature that can be applied to the built environment. Tessellations, Waves, Spirals, symmetries, meanders, cracks, and stripes all help to subtly bring the outdoors in. This can be easily achieved through solutions like Frontier™, allowing you to create a wave-like ceilingscape like at Westmount School.
There are many textures found in nature that are a perfect fit for the built environment. Textures like plants, sand, stone, and bark are great examples of this. Designs like these can be applied to the surface of acoustic solutions. The use of Acoustic Timber™ can also make spaces comfortable, like at BIG FAN Studios, where creativity and comfort are crucial.
There are many textures found in nature that are a perfect fit for the built environment. Textures like plants, sand, stone, and bark are great examples of this.
We are able to sculpt the form of products to emulate our natural environment.
Autex Acoustics, United Kingdom
Nov 15, 2023