The importance of acoustics is often underestimated in interior design.
Sounds greatly influence our everyday life, even when we don’t notice them. If you have ever been in a meeting where you could hardly hear the person sitting across from you, or tried to participate in a conference where all you heard was noise from an undoubtedly interesting presentation, then you too may have experienced this. It has been proven that scientific enhancement of indoor acoustics improves our well-being and increases our performance. But what is the ideal indoor sound environment for the human ear and what tools can be used to create it? Read on and find out thanks to Ecophon and their experts!
Over thousands of years, human hearing has naturally adapted to the outdoor environment, where there is neither a ceiling nor walls to reflect sounds. If the propagation of sound is not affected by large flat surfaces, it can spread in space with roughly uniform energy, but reflections can cause unwanted echoes and oscillations.
That is why the focus of Ecophon’s products is to endow the indoor environment with the acoustic characteristics found in nature. Their goal is to optimize indoor rooms for our natural way of hearing, so that speech and sounds become more audible and understandable, while the rooms also contribute to enhancing performance and well-being.
Two factors are responsible for the acoustics of a room, sound absorption and diffusion (uniform sound propagation). Acoustic engineer Dr. Csaba Huszty, who is the managing director of Ecophon partner ENTEL Fejlesztési Kft., helped us understand the available solutions.
We can usually place the sound absorption on the ceiling, where we can provide a solution with large surfaces in the least disturbing way. But in rooms where there is sound absorption only on the ceiling, an extremely uneven sound field can develop, which can be effectively compensated by additional sound absorption or diffusion on the walls.
With these two tools, you can usually achieve very good sound quality and speech intelligibility, especially if this is the main function of the room.
Ecophon’s solutions include both large ceiling-mounted sound absorbers and wall-mounted, even modular diffusers, thus providing a complex package of solutions for improving the acoustics of any space.
For years, there has been enormous competition on the market for products that help sound absorption and diffusion, as the importance of spatial acoustics is becoming more and more embedded in the public consciousness of designers. The possibilities are almost endless in terms of shapes, colors and installation options. When it comes to "classic" ceiling sound absorption, the Ecophon Solo product is now considered an industry standard, as it can be placed anywhere due to its multitude of available configuration options.
The Solo system is perfectly complemented by Ecophon’s Akusto product line, which is available in both free-standing and wall-mounted versions. These vertical panels can further correct the unevenness of the sound field, and thanks to the available colors and surfaces, they can be easily adapted to the visual concept of the interior.
The company’s new product called fade® is an innovation that goes beyond free-standing and mounted panels. Ecophon fade® Acoustic is a high-quality monolithic effect acoustic plaster system that effectively absorbs environmental noise. Thanks to its excellent sound absorption properties, the acoustic plaster — applied to walls and ceilings with spray technology — provides an optimal acoustic effect even in large spaces. It can be installed on virtually any surface, including straight and curved ceilings, bold angles and curved domes.
Even today, many people consider acoustic treatment to be optional, a special feature that occurs in case of customer demand, or a characteristic of some rooms intended for musical purposes, all while acoustic treatment is mandatory in most buildings and rooms by law. Standards prescribe the minimum quality level and only positive deviations from this are allowed.
— Mentions Dr. Zsolt Huszty. Acknowledging and following these standards is primarily the task of architectural engineers, but the cooperation of different disciplines can greatly contribute to compliance and the improvement of space acoustics. Due to the rapid development of the market and products, the days when acoustics could only be improved by compromising the visual experience are behind us. Today, the two experiences can go hand in hand, and all that is required for this is that we pay sufficient attention to issues affecting the sound space during the interior design as well.
If you want to get to know Ecophon’s products better, or if you just want to learn more about the secrets of outdoor acoustics, visit the joint interior of Ecophon and BEFLEX between September 21 and 24 at Budapest Aréna! In addition to the innovative acoustic products, you can also get to know the portfolio of BEFLEX, who, with 30 years of experience, help in the implementation of branded solutions, whether it is for outdoor, indoor or even completely unique needs!