PART 1: Acoustic Consideration In Commercial Interior Designing
Interior designing has changed a lot in the past few years. Lots of trendshave been introduced and one of those is for modernity. Modernity, in the past few years, has taken over on the classic and traditional style commercial office space look. The sleek modern look may be easy on the eye but is definitely not easy on the ears.
Sound has a very strong role in how we feel and experience our space around. A room, no matter if it’s commercial or domestic, will need acoustic elements to keep noise at bay. Sound waves will resound around the room, and without anything delicate to assimilate them, the sound wave moves toward becoming intensified and speech can become hard to understand. This is especially strong in open-plan spaces that are ordinarily multifunctional and thus should be suitable for socializing, relaxing and regular ‘living’.
So let’s first understand, what is sound absorption?
Some people might confuse sound absorption with soundproofing, but actually, both are poles apart. When sound hits an object it will either be absorbed (sound absorption) or can be reflected back (soundproofing). If you want to reduce the unwanted noise from entering or leaving the space, you’ll need to install soundproofing solutions. However, in the case of sound absorption, you’ll need them when you want to improve the acoustics of your office space. By improving the acoustics of the room, you’ll simply reduce the echo and the excess sound in the room. This reduction of sound happens because the excess sound has been absorbed, and you can only have access to clear and audible sound within the room.
In short, the process of sound absorption involves absorbing sound waves by using sound absorbing materials that can be placed or installed on walls, ceilings, and floors. These sound-absorbing materials reduce an echo rather than completely blocking them.
Sound absorption is one of the desirable, sometimes even necessary solutions for schools, lecture rooms, music rooms, recording studios, conference rooms, meeting areas, theatre, and concert halls.
Sound absorbing materials or sound diffusers usually possess the characteristics of being soft, light, fluffy, or porous, which allows them to absorb sound or an echo. These products also contribute to the aesthetics of a room, apart from increasing the quality of sound within a room. It should also be noted that the sound absorbing ability of a particular material depends on the frequency of a sound. Low frequencies, usually below 500 Hz, are more difficult to detect and absorb while higher frequencies are easier to absorb.
The sound absorbing materials are divided into three basic characteristics which include, porous absorbers, panel absorbers, and resonance absorbers.
As the name suggests, porous absorbers are those that are made up of porous materials. They can be further divided into two forms: a fibrous and an open-celled foam. A fibrous material can absorb sound easily as the sound wave gets bent and then gets converted into heat energy. So basically, the main function of fibrous material is to convert acoustic energy into heat energy. Whereas, the open-celled foam absorbs via air movements of the sound waves that pass through the material. Most of the people in interior designing business use porous absorbers as they are very effective in reducing sound.
Panel absorbers or non-membrane absorbers are made of non-porous and non-rigid material.
They represent a group of common building elements such as a table, a chair, a window, a door, etc. They mostly deal with low frequencies of a sound where they can best show their effectiveness of absorbing a sound wave.
Resonance absorbers contain an acoustical oscillation system which has plates with an air space. These plates can be either of perforated materials or with a small hole or opening. These openings are responsible to trap and block the sound inside to reduce the echo. The resonance absorbers are one of the most effective of all the absorbers when it comes to low-frequency sound waves.
So, which one will you prefer for your office interiors?