Workplace comfort is not just about soft seats, fresh fruit and breakout rooms. In the background, less-visible features are also quietly playing their part…

At the Startblock B2 Hub in Cottbus, Germany, acoustic baffles perform an aesthetic as well as functional role. Photo: Kay Fingerle

Sounds good: creating acoustic comfort at work | News

At the Startblock B2 Hub in Cottbus, Germany, acoustic baffles perform an aesthetic as well as functional role. Photo: Kay Fingerle


Our relationship with work – the what, the how and the where – continues to evolve. Ever-increasing competition from cosy home office environments means that now more than ever, traditional office spaces need to have user needs and comfort at the top of their agendas. And while things like beanbags and ping-pong tables may grab the headlines, in the background, other less-visible elements quietly play their own vital roles in creating the right working atmospheres – not least those related to sound management. Here we present a selection of projects which demonstrate some different approaches to workplace acoustic design…

baramundi Headquarters
Augsburg, Germany
Project by HENN

In contrast to its sleek, minimal facade, the interior of software company baramundi's headquarters embraces raw, exposed and natural materials. All atrium-facing surfaces are clad in a white acoustic coating that dampens sound. The space's exposed concrete is also inlaid with layered acoustic panels, whose foam layer absorbs sound. Curtains are used as flexible interior partitions while also serving an important acoustic function.

Photos: Laurian Ghinitoiu

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Care Property Invest NV
Schoten, Belgium
Project by abv+architecten

On abv+architecten's extension project for Care Property Invest NV, special attention was paid to acoustic comfort through the use of perforated plasterboard, acoustic wood panelling, curtains, etc. The use of wood and fresh terrazzo tiles provide a warm touch throughout the building.

Photos: EvenBeeld

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Lielvārds Space
Riga, Latvia
Project by Gaiss

The well-being of users, including acoustic comfort, was central to the design of the headquarters of Riga-based education company Lielvārds. The flexible conference space can be divided with a perforated acoustic partition while glazed partitions also help to block external noise. Textile carpets and curtains also play an important sound-absorbing role in creating a comfortable atmosphere.

Photos: Madara Gritāne

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Startblock B2 Hub
Cottbus, Germany
Project by Bernd Huckriede + Jens Brinkmann | United Architektur + ludwig heimbach architektur

The goal of the new Startblock B2 building in Cottbus is to promote innovation, creativity and new forms of work as the area's more traditional industries are phased out. Behind its multi-layered facade lies a more exposed, raw interior. Acoustic baffles feature throughout, forming part of the project's transparent aesthetic while also, of course, performing an important functional role.

Photos: Kay Fingerle

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One Picadilly Gardens
London, UK
Project by SpaceInvader

As part of its brief to transform the interior of a landmark six-storey building in London, interior design agency SpaceInvader created a welcoming garden-style pavilion in the atrium area. Plants act as natural acoustic elements, while vertical slats incorporate acoustic panels which, along with carpet, help to reduce reverberation. Additionally, acoustic lampshades act as baffles to further manage noise levels in the open atrium space.

Photos: Jill Tate

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