In our most recent blog post, ‘The Noisy Neighbour at Work’, we discussed the impact of noise on productivity. This, of course, was one of the highlights from our pan-European Worklife study. The research findings and the blog prompted the question: are we doing enough as an industry to tackle the issue given the growing importance of employee health and wellbeing?

Unsurprisingly, the topic came up repeatedly at Clerkenwell Design Week (21-23 May 2019), which has become a popular attraction with the global A&D community over the last 10 years. From keynote talks to workshops and showroom features to product displays, it’s clear that office acoustics are really front of mind right now.  

“The World Health Organisation estimates that the cost to Europe of excessive noise levels is £30billion in lost working days, healthcare costs and lost productivity.”
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Listen and Learn

As always, the CPD sessions at Clerkenwell proved popular with insightful presentations and panels being hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Building Research Center (BRE), among many others.

On behalf of RIBA, guest presenter Rosalind Lambert-Porter kicked things off by debunking some of the myths surrounding office acoustics - highlighting why we’re getting it so wrong.

Meanwhile, former Director of Sustainability at BRE, Martin Townsend, hosted a roundtable discussing the importance of acoustics in the workplace. The debate focused on the wellbeing of building occupants and looked ahead to future challenges, including economic and environmental impacts.

We’ll share the presentation content and filmed footage from the Clerkenwell festival, as it becomes available, here on The Great Indoors. Meanwhile, let’s take a quick look at some of the most interesting and innovative acoustic solutions on show at the three-day event. Could any of these ideas improve the wellbeing of open plan workers in your next project?

Sound inspiration

First up, in a wall-to-wall bid to tackle noise intrusion, is the appropriately named Muffle range from AllSfär. The brand’s printed felt acoustic panels offer a visually impactful solution to managing noise and reducing reverberation. Check out the Muffle Mural concept here which allows you to make a creative statement, while creating a sense of harmony and quiet - even in a busy office environment.

(image courtesy of AllSfar. Source: allsfär.com)

We also enjoyed the aeronautical and automotive inspired ScreenLiner from Thinking Works. Its desk screen essentially creates a personal cabin space within the workstation, featuring integrated storage, built-in power and ambient lighting. Taking the specification theme one step further, Screenliner can be optioned up to a first class experience, or toned down to premium economy. Either way, it’s a neat, self-contained solution that supports private working while minimising the noisy distractions. 

(Image courtesy of Thinking Works. Source: thinkingw.com)

Last, but not least, we have Haven Pods from The Senator Group. The pod range of workspaces help meet the need for privacy within the workplace environment by providing a defined space for individual focused work and spaces for team collaboration. The manufacturer claims that the space efficient geometric designs help to enhance the acoustic performance of the product. With upholstered panels available at a range of heights, we can certainly see why.

(Image courtesy of The Senator Group. Source: thesenatorgroup.com)

That’s a wrap!

So, with another Clerkenwell Design Week finally in the books, let us know what your festival experience was and what you enjoyed most. For those that didn’t get the opportunity, NeoCon is fast approaching (10-12 June), so here’s a gentle reminder of how to get yourself registered. We, of course, will be busily following events via the official hashtag - #neocon2019 - so stay posted for more news and views.

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Anette Timmer EMEA Marketing Director Carpets/Workplace

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