Quiet Please: The Latest on Decorative Acoustical Products

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

There’s a revolution underway to quiet spaces, and not only in open-plan office settings. School buildings, healthcare facilities, retail spaces and hospitality venues, among others, can also experience their fair shares of noise pollution. Time was, architects and interior designers combated such issues by deftly and discreetly folding acoustical and sound-dampening elements and materials into the backdrop. But today, designers have at their fingertips a range of sound-absorbing products that are so aesthetically handsome that they become decorative artworks or wall coverings in interiors.

Carnegie’s Xorel Artform

For some time, felt specialists such as BuzziSpace and FilzFelt have been on this path of making design-centric acoustic products, and fabric behemoth KnollTextiles forayed into this market last year with its Impressions collection of sound-absorbing tiles. But, more recently, non-fabric companies like seating brand Arper and wood-panel company Smith and Fong have targeted this area with their own eye-catching acoustic products. (See some of these in our previous post on acoustic wall products.)

Smith and Fong’s Sound Collection

In fact, the aforementioned Smith and Fong unveiled new designs for its award-winning Sound Collection (formerly PlybooSound) just this week. The seven new designs, constructed from FSC-certified bamboo, are, for the most part, linear in appearance with subtle under-patterns such as chevrons and come in Amber or a new, modern Fog gray finish. Each wall panel measures four by eight feet, though custom sizes of up to 10 feet are also available, and is made in the United States using both domestic and foreign components. The Sound Collection incorporates the manufacturer’s QuietWall noise-dampening technology, which boasts an NRC of up to 0.70.

Carnegie’s Xorel Artform

A new kid on the acoustics block is a textile company with a long, celebrated history. Carnegie recently launched Xorel Artform (also shown at top), a line of geometric wall and ceiling panels that utilize a Quiet Core acoustical substrate for an NRC of up to 0.70 and the highly durable and cleanable Xorel fabric. Four shapes, in three different sizes each, are available in the following Xorel patterns in an array of colors: Circuit, Dash, Flash Back, Flux, Gamma, Meteor, Nexus, Quarry, Pipeline, Strie and Twine. Carnegie is also offering Xorel Artform with a Micore® substrate, which creates a tackable panel with a moderate NRC rating of up to 0.30. Sold in six-panel sets, Xorel Artform quickly and easily installs using either Velcro or a quick-grab adhesive.

Carnegie’s Xorel Artform with tackable substrate

For the ceilings category, Baresque has expanded its Zintra™ acoustic line with clouds and baffle systems that can animate even the blandest of interiors. Both ranges are composed of Zintra’s polyester felt, resulting in an NRC of up to 0.90 and a Class A fire rating. The clouds are blade- or petal-like volumes formed of felt grids and measure 43 to 47 inches in diameter, while the baffle systems come in two standard sizes and two baffle depths and come with a preassembled frame to easily create ceiling topographies.

Baresque’s Zintra Baffle System

Baresque’s Zintra Clouds

As I mentioned, this product market is particularly hot right now, so stay tuned for more updates on new product announcements in the coming months, especially as we enter architecture and design show season.