Australia, Autex Acoustics
Nov 17, 2023
The design of our interior spaces has a direct impact on 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 to make a difference
Design for well-being from the start of your project. To create a healthy environment that promotes health and well-being, you need to carefully select the right products to solve your particular issues.
Noise and reverberation are some of the problems that can have a negative impact on occupants, increasing anxiety and stress, cognitive fatigue, lowering productivity, and creating distractions. Another consideration involves ensuring that the visual appeal aligns with this objective, establishing a welcoming and comfortable environment. This is why we need to consider both acoustic and visual comfort from the beginning of the design process.
Acoustic comfort is achieved when the designed environment effectively manages noise levels and reverberation, preventing adverse effects on occupants while fostering effective communication and ensuring speech privacy.
To create speech privacy, sound must be blocked from travelling between adjacent spaces to avoid speech being carried from one space to another. 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. The entire wall and ceiling system must be addressed to reduce the sound transmission between spaces. This starts by looking at mass, isolation, insulation, and reverberation.
A space’s ambient noise level (background noise caused by environmental sounds and noises from building services) also contributes to acoustic comfort. This type of noise is caused by things we can’t control, like a building’s location or plumbing and mechanical systems. However, we do have features within our control to limit ambient noise. These include space zoning, internal finishes, and controlling reverberation with acoustic materials.
Managing the noise resulting from sound reverberation is crucial in all spaces, particularly in areas requiring concentration and focus, especially when precision in conveying information is essential. However, it is also vital to areas used for conferencing and collaboration, for general and focused learning, for formal meetings, and in spaces for social engagement.
The higher NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rating and larger surface area of these noise-reducing surfaces, the shorter the reverberation time. To get the best results, layer multiple acoustic solutions within the space.
When designing for visual comfort, we can utilise principles like biophilic design and colour to make truly welcoming environments where people can thrive.
Biophilic design principles are commonly used today due to their clear benefits for occupants. Our visual connection 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.
Outside of direct experiences with nature, like plants, water features and natural light, we can also look at how to use products to evoke nature. Acoustic treatments provide a powerful platform for incorporating biophilic design features representing nature and culture. This can be achieved through 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. Colours inspired by nature help us feel better in the areas we occupy. For example, our Caspian, Highland, Terrace, and Canyon colours 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 more literal take on using images of nature to help bring a sense of calm to any space. At Autex Acoustics, we offer the flexibility to custom print any image onto our flagship acoustic products, Cube™ and Quietspace® Panel.
A range of patterns in nature can be applied to the built environment. Symmetries, meanders, tessellations, spirals, waves, stripes, and cracks 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 is a range of textures found in nature that seamlessly fit into the built environment. Textures like stone, bark, plants, and sand 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.
We also have the capability to sculpt the form of products to emulate our natural environment. Our design team are experienced in taking concept ideas and designing them into functional and beautiful acoustic features.
Australia, Autex Acoustics
Nov 17, 2023