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Design Inspiration

7 Ways to Cover Expansive Ceiling Spaces in Acoustic Attenuation

May 23, 2024

Did you know that sound waves behave differently in large spaces versus compact quarters? This difference is enough to rethink how you arrange acoustic attenuation.

In confined areas, sound waves encounter walls and furniture at a high frequency, leading to absorption and a dampening effect. In large open spaces, however, sound waves have more room to travel before hitting a surface, resulting in excessive reverberation, echo, and difficulty hearing conversations.

Arktura render showcasing LumAngle™ 120 and SoundStar®

Our previous blog, covered the unique challenges of creating acoustically pleasing small spaces such as breakrooms, lobbies, and conference rooms. This blog post explores how to achieve optimal acoustics in large open environments with the help of Arktura’s innovative solutions for commercial spaces.

Arktura offers a variety of acoustic ceiling systems and sound absorption solutions to create comfortable and acoustically balanced large spaces. Here are some key strategies:

  • Install suspended acoustic baffles or clouds to absorb sound energy and improve speech intelligibility.
  • Use heavy curtains or drapes to cover windows and minimize sound transmission.
  • Introduce soft furnishings such as carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture to absorb sound and reduce echo.
  • Utilize bookshelves, plants, and other textured surfaces to scatter sound and prevent it from concentrating in specific areas.

These tips help create a more acoustically comfortable environment in a large open space. Acoustic benefits include improved communication/collaboration in office spaces, enhanced focus/productivity, reduced noise fatigue, as well as a more comfortable and enjoyable environment for everyone. Let’s jump into some visual inspiration below.

Create a Flow with Open Office Acoustics

“NFL Media” Inglewood, CA, Gensler.

Create visual flow and dampen sound with strategically placed linear baffles. For long, narrow spaces like this open floorplan, linear baffles are an easy choice to stretch the length of the space. This creates visual flow as the eye catches the soft folds of this office acoustic ceiling.

The textural Soft Sound® baffles make up the aesthetically pleasing SoftFold® acoustic ceiling system to create a motion-filled, vibrant, on-camera backdrop in the studio for the NFL Media Network. SoftFold® provides quality acoustic properties allowing it to dampen excess noise, crucial in a media studio.

Scale Acoustic Baffles to the Size of the Space

“Phoenix Sky Harbor” Phoenix, AZ, Corgan. Photo by Kurt Griesbach.

Address noise issues in large areas like airport terminals with custom-sized baffles. Large, open airport concourses like the one above in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor can be a confluence of excess noise. Between arriving and departing planes, busy travelers, as well as overhead announcements, these spaces are in desperate need for acoustic attenuation.

This custom acoustic ceiling system made of our Soft Sound® material, based on our Atmosphera® system, features scaled up undulating baffles with fins reaching 8-9 feet deep. This installation creates a more acoustically pleasing space for the entire terminal.

Custom Baffles Travel Up and Across Your Space

“Confidential Biotech Company” Boston, MA, Perkins & Will. Photo by Anton Grassl.

Take your acoustic design to the next level, literally! Design unique, large-scale baffle systems to provide continuous sound absorption across multiple floors. Multiple stories mean more space for excess noise to travel across. This custom project for a confidential client creates an immersive acoustic solution.

Designed by our Solutions Studio® team of dedicated custom designers this baffle system is finished in the client’s brand colors. These baffles go across the ceiling of the first floor before creating a striking right angle and reaching up to the next floor.

Geometric Attenuation Creating Visual Intrigue

Neustar” Reston, VA, HKS Architects. Photo by Garrett Rowland.

The geometric design of these TriSoft® acoustic clouds act as sound absorbing panels for offices to help scatter and absorb sound waves, reducing echoes and reverberations in the office space. This coffered form factor can lead to improved speech intelligibility and overall acoustic comfort.

Its triangular decorative acoustic ceiling panel design creates a powerful focal point across your ceiling while performative acoustic material absorbs noise for everyone’s benefit.

Evenly Distributed Acoustic Cloud Systems

“GNC Headquarters” Pittsburgh, PA, LGA, Rycon Construction. Photo by Maya Puskaric.

For ample, multi-story spaces it might not always be cost effective to array acoustic coverage across the entire ceiling. Instead consider sprinkling attenuation around the office with evenly distributed ceiling clouds.

These SoftGrid® Scale modules installed here at GNC HQ provide noise control peppered throughout their space.  This provides concentrated coverage where it’s needed most while saving on overall cost compared to a full acoustic array.

Linear Baffles to Absorb Excess Noise

“Sunlife Financial” Montreal, CAN, Metaphore Design. Photo by Damien Ligiardi.

Conference rooms and assembly halls can inhibit the clear communication of a speaker without proper acoustic enhancements. Sound can bounce off walls, ceilings, and floors creating a jumbled mix of sounds.

Installing linear baffles like these SoundEdge® modules not only adds a visual element to this space but creates plenty of attenuation. Ensuring those in attendance hear the speaker loud and clear.

Fill Your Entire Space with Arrayed Modules

“Seattle Convention Center” Seattle, WA, LMN Architects. Photo courtesy of Chris West.

When design intent and performance are the top priority, nothing beats an expansive array of acoustic coverage. Sweeping arrangements of interconnected acoustic cloud systems form continuous fields of coverage, creating a more peaceful and quieter atmosphere wherever they go.

The Seattle Convention Center Summit Building above boasts an impressive feature: SoftGrid® Skyline acoustic modules used throughout the convention center concourse. This design is visible on multiple levels and creates an illusion of urban horizons across the high ceilings of the Summit Building.

Maximizing Acoustic Comfort in Any Space

Creating an acoustically pleasing environment in large open spaces comes with unique challenges. However, it’s possible to achieve optimal acoustic comfort with strategic acoustic panels for office or other commercial spaces, sound-absorbing materials, suspended baffles, and other innovative solutions.

With a thoughtful approach to acoustic design, a balance between functionality and aesthetics can be struck, ultimately enhancing the overall ambiance of expansive spaces.

Contact your local rep to learn more about bringing performative Arktura acoustics to your next project.

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