Soundtect at the Restaurant Design Show videoOctober 21, 2016
NEW FIS Comprehensive Guide to Office Fit Out & RefurbishmentMay 10, 2017
Soundtect was called to PRG XL Video which has a first-floor office based in Covent Garden on the corner of Cranbourne Street and Saint Martin’s Lane WC2, with a double aspect, so windows along both external walls.
Internally the layout is very Open Plan with wooden floors, wooden seating and minimal soft furnishings. There are two meeting rooms which have very high ceilings and glass walls again with little soft furnishings and the breakout area has a large wooden table and wooden benches and is placed in between the sales department and the reception desk.
The sales department itself is a very busy section with a number of people working very closely together, in an area which also had very little absorption.
The brief was to reduce the noise of the office and improve the acoustics in all areas which would allow staff to work more officially and effectively, whilst not losing the feeling of space nor becoming too much of a statement.
Acoustic requirements and constraints
Due to windows along the entire length of the building on both external sides this left very little room for acoustics to be placed onto the walls especially as the inner wall had been set up for logos and internal information.
In the small meeting room, one wall was glass and the opposite wall was a writable wall which left very few options to deal with the high level of reverberation present in this room.In the boardroom, the client was keen to retain the artwork which was already installed but this room was used for a lot of conference calls and was particularly difficult to use for this purpose due to the echo.
The client was also keen to retain the Open Plan feel of the office so partitions were not a viable solution for this office.
In the sales area, the desks were not large enough to add desk partitions and with windows on both sides of this area there was nowhere to add softness and absorption.
At the far end of the office there were two very small rooms set aside for personal calls and quiet space that were currently being used as cupboards because the reverberation inside these rooms simply made it impossible to use for anything else.
As these rooms were quite tiny it was going to be tough adding acoustic panels to the walls without the rooms feeling claustrophobic.
With the client wanting to keep the office very clean but on brand we needed to ensure that whatever we added to the office improved the acoustics enough without becoming the feature.
Firstly, in the meeting rooms, we decided to add a combination of wall and ceiling panels that fitted with the decor perfectly whilst not taking over. The ceiling circles place directly above the meeting room tables added absorbed a lot of the sound, whilst in the boardroom, a feature wall was added of the Cubism panels which also diffused and absorbed excessive reverberation.
In the small meeting room this was more difficult due to the lack of available space but a band of Class panels was also added onto the monitor wall to create a whole wall of absorption.Both rooms had significantly better sound as a result.
In the breakout area, with no available wall space and a client who was very
keen to add drama without going too crazy we suggested and installed two
large red circles directly above the breakout meeting table, which absorbed localised noise from people chatting and having lunch.
In the sales area, we suggested a number of ceiling panels and offered two solutions. The client decided to go with the circles to keep the theme running throughout the open plan office as every area was visible from the reception desk. The result was that the sales team could hear themselves much better concentrate much easier and therefore work far more effectively.
In the two small quiet rooms at the back of the office we installed just two panels on opposite walls each. As the panels chosen were not one of the deeper designs and because there was only a small amount, we managed to get a major improvement whilst not making these rooms too oppressive. These rooms are now working perfectly as quiet areas and phone booths.
The client was delighted with the results both visually and aurally and said that the sales team in particular were delighted with the reduced amount of noise they were being subjected to.The boardroom and small meeting room also resulted in much happier meetings and increased level of use.
The acoustic solutions we applied added a real design element to the building and office without becoming too much of a feature and addressed the reverberation issue perfectly and as a result the clients were delighted.