Acoustic ceiling is important in office buildings

Comfort and confidentiality requirements raise the acoustic ceilings bar

140 West Street in central Sandton, Gauteng, is one of the new office buildings transforming the Sandton skyline. It received a 4-Star Green Star SA Office V1 Design certification for its eco-friendly design features – a bias towards sustainable considerations that is echoed in the interior design.

Architectural firm Savile Row was retained to do the interior design for one of the building’s anchor tenants. Acoustic performance was a core aspect of the brief.

Furthermore, teams of between four and twelve people regularly work together on projects for up to four months at a time. Invariably, they set up a team office. Given the intense nature of such projects and the long hours people spend together in one room, the architects had to ensure that these collaboration spaces would be as comfortable as possible.

As the walls in the collaborative rooms were mostly used for white boards, ceilings were the only spaces available for acoustic treatment.

”The nature of the client’s business dictated what we needed to do with the acoustics,” says Taryn. “But we also wanted an aesthetically pleasing, smooth installation that disguised the ceiling grid so that it doesn’t read as heavily.

In the meeting rooms and collaboration spaces, Taryn and her colleagues chose Ecophons large format Focus Ds grey or white ceiling tiles. In the town hall spaces where gatherings would result in increased noise levels, acoustic baffles were installed below the ceiling tiles.

The building’s auditorium is a focus point for Ecophon, not least because it was the first time in South Africa that Akusto wall panels and Focus LP ceiling tiles were used in combination. “Ecophon’s Class A tiles give excellent acoustic value coupled with the aesthetics of large format and a variety of colours,” says Ashley Chevalier, Savile Row interior architect. “A big win for us was that by using the Akusto wall paneling, we didn’t have to deal with different suppliers, which always simplifies a project.”

The large format ceiling tiles and wall panels need to be installed accurately to achieve both the desired visual finish and acoustic functionality. To this end, Ecophon’s Harold Webb provided on-site technical support to the installer. In the auditorium, for instance, each wall panel had to be cut to run along the stairs. Thanks to this precision, the end result is a striking wall panel design.

Lynn Beukman, Ecophon area sales manager, says the 140 West installation has lifted the bar for acoustic ceilings. “Our high end tiles are usually confined to executive offices and boardrooms. In this case the architects have chosen to push the envelope by using the tiles extensively throughout the building. The end result is exciting: pleasing to the eye and delivering a high absorbance factor.”

”Ecophon’s Class A tiles give excellent acoustic value coupled with the aesthetics of large format and a variety of colours”

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