by Gillian Morris
Statton Design Group has over 23 years of experience as a commercial interior design firm in the Dallas area. Every Wednesday we will use our experience to provide insight into various aspects of commercial interior design and offer tips we have gleaned through our years of experience with local DFW clients.
In today's open-plan offices, privacy and quiet are in short supply. This presents a problem for many businesses whose workers find it difficult to stay focused and productive in these bustling collaborative environments. Design firms and furniture manufacturers alike have taken notice, thus spurring an industry movement toward noise reduction and designated privacy zones.
At Statton Design Group, we often work with clients who deal with these same concerns. During our 23 years of experience in the Dallas area, we have picked up a few insights that help us enhance privacy and reduce noise in our commercial design projects. Here are our Top 3.
Wall & Floor Construction
The most effective way to reduce noise and increase privacy in an office space is to start at the beginning: construction. Walls and floors can be the best sound barriers if the materials used to build them are sound-absorbing. Sound-absorption is defined according to two different measurements, the NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) and the SAA (Sound Absorption Average). Both are decimal numbers between 0 and 1; the higher the decimal, the greater a material's sound absorptivity. Unfortunately, the cheapest and most common building materials do not meet the threshold of 0.35 required to considered a true "sound absorber."
If sound-absorption is crucial to your office space, start by sitting down with your building manager, architect, or construction overseer to ensure that the thickness and content of your building materials is compatible with your noise or privacy concerns.
If you are looking for privacy, you can't go wrong with walls. Enclose an area and...boom! Instant privacy. But if you can't build walls into your design from the outset, you will need to look at some alternative solutions...
As you have probably noticed from the above table, one of the best sound absorbers is carpet. For this reason, carpet is the #1 non-structural method for keeping an office space quiet. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, fabric furnishings are good sound absorbers. The key to these "soft" fabrics' absorption power is their ability to trap sound waves between layers of fabric and padding. Once sound waves enter these materials, they encounter resistance that impedes their escape, therefore reducing the overall volume of the sound that is transmitted. Velour fabric is particularly good at this, so go ahead and indulge in that beautiful velour/velvet sofa you've always wanted!
Acoustic Panels & Products
The final step to securing a quiet and private office space is through the use of Acoustic products. Acoustic products have become increasing more available and affordable as demand for them has risen. Here are two of Statton Design Group's favorites:
Best Sound Solution: Snowsound Acoustic Panels
We are thrilled to have recently begun selling Snowsound products and we can't say enough about their incredible selection. Their divider panels, floating acoustic panels, wall panels, and cubbies, create multiple sound-absorbing barriers that are both functional and beautiful.
Best Privacy Solution: Framery Acoustics
We discovered Framery at NeoCon this past June and we immediately fell in love with their sleek design and in-your-face functionality. Need privacy? Enter one of their phone booths for immediate sound-proof isolation. Need a private meeting space? Enter one of their Framery Q booths for two. These products can be dropped in to any room and become an instant privacy solution for an open-plan space.
We hope these ideas help you add some privacy and quiet to your workspace!
For information and pricing on these or any other products featured on our blog, give us a shout. Looking for some help designing your quiet office? Contact us at Statton Design Group for a free design consultation. If you're in the Southlake, TX or Dallas Fort Worth area, we would love to set up a time to meet in person. Give us a call, send us an email or leave your comments below to start finding your design solution!