If you’re sitting or standing at your desk in the office right now, look up. Chances are pretty strong that what you’ll see is a standard ‘drop’ ceiling … metal tracks supporting square or rectangular white tiles. Also called acoustical ceilings, these are the sensible shoes of office design … functional but very bland.
And if you’ve ever been in a conference room with one of these ceilings, drywall walls and more than a few people, you’ve learned that these ‘acoustical’ ceilings aren’t really all that good at deadening sound. It’s hard to accomplish much with all that noise bouncing off of every surface.
So much focus in office design is on the visual side of things that it’s easy to forget to take our ears into account as well as our eyes. Improper acoustics can turn an office, and especially a large open space, into an auditory nightmare that makes it difficult to get work done. Designing spaces to control sound reverberation is an absolute must.
The good news is that deadening the sound in your office space doesn’t have to mean deadening the appearance as well. Consider suspended acoustic modules as a better way to go. The name may not sound much different from those old-school ceilings, but there are significant differences:
Function: The open ceilings and concrete floors in many modern workplaces are great for an urban vibe, but not so much for deadening noise. Acoustic modules make these or any other large or shared spaces more functional by absorbing unwanted sound.
Appearance: This is where suspended acoustic modules really shine, adding a unique visual dimension to a space. The design choices are nearly endless, from a simple grid to patterns that suggest ocean waves to any number of other geometric choices. The modules can be a subtle white or gray, or add bright pops of color for even more visual interest.
If the existing ceiling complements the room well but isn’t acoustically appropriate (as in many of those urban-style offices mentioned above), acoustic modules can allow it to show through. Some styles even allow for lighting placed above the modules for a more subtle look, a big improvement over those fluorescent fixtures bolted onto a drop ceiling.
Flexibility: A large space may not need acoustical improvement from wall to wall. Perhaps there’s a dedicated conversation area where quiet is called for. Acoustical modules can be placed strategically for just such a purpose.
Mastering the sound in your workplace doesn’t mean settling for bland and boring. Look into the nearly endless varieties of suspended acoustic modules and see and hear what you’ve been missing.
Questions about acoustic modules or other sound control in the workplace? Contact Douron.