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Design Inspiration

Why Designs Are Switching to PET Felt in Acoustic Ceiling Design

July 30, 2020
Arktura SoundEdge

Acoustic design has long been considered an important part of architecture. Over time, designers, architects and building owners have tried a variety of methods and materials to help control echoes and sound in both residential and commercial spaces.

The earliest efforts involved dropped ceiling panels that were typically made of asbestos, cellulose and other materials designed to help dampen sound. They were cost-effective and highly efficient at helping to control noise.

Today’s acoustic materials, however, blend form and function to create spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and acoustically comfortable.

What Is PET Felt?

Grey felt panels up close in an interesting design.
“U of A” Phoenix, AZ, CO Architects, Taube Photography, Featuring: SoftFold® by Arktura

Polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET felt, is a unique material. Strong and sturdy, it is better at controlling acoustics than drop ceiling panels.

PET felt looks and feels like wool, but this innovative acoustic felt is made of recycled water and soda bottles and can contain anywhere from 50% to 100% post-recycled content. It’s formed into sheets that can be transformed into panels, tiles, light fixtures and even furniture, all of which do a superior job of absorbing sound and controlling the acoustics in a room or building.

PET acoustic felt is highly durable and is easy to clean and maintain. It doesn’t contain organic material, so it won’t begin to degrade or crumble with time, and you can use it in a wide variety of settings without worrying about maintenance or care. It can be found in an incredible range of colors, as well as shapes and designs that help it fit in well with nearly any setting.

At the end of its lifespan, it’s also fully recyclable, making it an excellent green choice for today’s eco-conscious companies.

Why Use PET Felt?

Every building and space is unique, and so are their acoustic needs. One room may have high ceilings that need better acoustic control throughout, while another space may need acoustic performance targeted to certain areas to better facilitate study, work or conversation.

Every space also has its own design needs in terms of color, pattern and style, which means that acoustic felt panels can’t be a one-size-fits-all product. It should be customizable so that it can meet the unique and individual needs of each space. That’s what makes PET felt so attractive — it can be formed, shaped, folded and colorized to match the needs of every space it’s installed in.

Arktura Soft Sound® acoustic felt is used to manufacture acoustic ceiling panels and baffles, wall tiles and backing for our perforated metal panels. This product is a unique design element in its own right.

23 Designs With PET Felt

This highly innovative and versatile material can be used in many ways. Take a look at these stunning design ideas to see how PET could complement your office or commercial decor.

1. Suspended Panels

This ceiling contains a mixture of hanging gray panels and light fixtures. It hangs over a long white rectangular table with grey chairs. Three people surround the table.
“M.C. Dean” Tyson, VA, Perkins+Will, Halkin Mason Photography, Featuring: SoundEdge® by Arktura

This conference room has a highly contemporary design with a slight industrial edge, making the SoundEdge® suspended acoustic panels the perfect fit for the space. The panels are alternated with hanging lights, with the color and texture of the panels blending perfectly with the rest of the room’s design, positioned right where the room has the biggest acoustic need.

2. Pops of Color

Grey and yellow paneling hang from the ceiling. The room has white and grey patterned carpet, tables and chairs and an additional room off to the side.
“West Monroe Partners” Chicago, Illinois, Garnett Architects – CH, Robert Buyle Photography, Featuring: SoundEdge® by Arktura

This space needed a more consistent acoustic control across the room. Rather than sticking with one color and shape, the panels were broken into two sizes with the smaller panels showing off a bright, bold yellow that compliments the wall in the adjacent room. This helps brighten the design and the space, while simultaneously providing the perfect amount of sound control.

3. Dynamic Acoustic Control

Light grey faceted felt ceiling baffles in the Houston offices of the global energy and commodities trading company Vitol.
“Vitol” Houston TX, PDR, Featuring: Solutions Studio® by Arktura

A far cry from the drop ceiling panels of the past, these faceted acoustic felt ceiling baffles are the definition of innovation in the acoustic space. In this custom Solutions Studio® design, these grey ceiling baffles span the room, and were so impressive, they helped Vitol Houston be named an Architizer 2017 A+ Awards Finalist.

4. Moody Blues

Dark blue and white panels hang from the ceiling. There are two people conversing in the room along with desks and chairs.
“Engility” Springfield, VA, Form Architects, Spielmann Studio Photography, Featuring: SoundEdge® by Arktura

This office needed acoustic control throughout the space, so clusters of deep blue suspended panels are mixed with a soft gray that matches the color of the flooring. Together, the colors help create a dynamic ceiling appearance for the room while also providing superior sound control.

5. Sleek and Subtle

White panels hang from the ceiling over top of green and blue chairs tucked under tables. A green, blue and white mural hangs on the back wall.
“FEC Trammel Crow” Washington, DC, Smith Group, Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC, Featuring: SoundEdge® by Arktura

This space features clean, crisp lines and sleek surfaces. The SoundEdge® acoustic panels suspended from the ceiling align with the style in a subtle way, and they help ensure that anyone using the space will be able to carry on conversations easily, no matter how busy it gets.

6. Sculptural Ceiling

This dimly lit room has grey three-dimensional stars lining the ceiling. Outside of the windows it is night time and has a lit cityscape. The room contains a variety of neutral colored furniture.
“71 Above” Los Angeles, CA, Tag Front, Featuring: SoundStar® by Arktura

A benefit of using PET felt is its ability to be bent, sculpted and pieced together in so many ways. This area utilizes SoundStar® ceiling panels from Arktura in a neutral gray that matches the furniture, to create unique three-dimensional stars that help capture and absorb sound while creating a stunning and sculptural ceiling display.

7. Smooth Transitions

Black curved panels start on the left wall and continue onto the ceiling. There are ball-like light fixtures combined with hanging can lights. People are sitting on a blue couch with tables and ottomans.
“Vrbo” Austin, TX, Rios Clementi Hale Studios – DT, Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography, Featuring: Solutions Studio® by Arktura

These customized baffle wall and ceiling solutions curve around corners and transition smoothly across the walls and ceiling. Combining acoustic felt wall panels with ceiling panels controls noise throughout the busy work environment.

8. Suspended Stars

This open area has wood colored hexagonal panels. There are large windows and brown railings.
“One Medical Lobby” Chicago, IL, Callison RTKL, Featuring: SoundStar® by Arktura

For open spaces and buildings with high ceilings, sound control is even more important. Dropping a traditional ceiling only takes away from the height and style of the building, but by suspending sculptural panels instead, you can help absorb sound while enhancing and complementing the height of the space rather than undermining it.

9. Switch It Up

This office area has a green and grey panel combo. There are people sitting in chairs along with other empty chairs and tables.
“MMO” Cleveland, OH, Bialosky Partners, Christian Phillips (Photographer) Featuring: SoftGrid® Switch by Arktura

The intricate web created by SoftGrid® Switch’s felt acoustic panels adds excitement and movement to the space even as it enhances acoustic support. For larger jobs, our SoftGrid® Max options let you maximize value and minimize the impact on the environment — a win-win.

10. Conversation Areas

There are steps in the center of the room with a set of four chairs and a rectangular planter. White ductwork and grey hexagonal ceiling panels make up the ceiling.
“Optiv” Denver, CO, IA Interior Architects, James Florio (Photographer) Featuring: SoundStar® by Arktura

Commercial buildings and office spaces are often used for a variety of purposes at once, so they may feature wide-open spaces. This can make it difficult for people to sit and hold a quiet conversation when needed, particularly as more office spaces are adapting the open office concept to their design. By suspending felt acoustic panels just where you need them, you can create a quiet atmosphere without closing in the space.

11. Pastel Angles

A combination of green, blue and cream panels hang from the ceiling. There are green trees and grass outside of the windows. Tables and chairs fill the room in addition to an ordering station.
“Open Cafe” Featuring: SoundAngle® by Arktura

If you want something a little more substantial than a thin panel, but don’t want a large three-dimensional sculpture on the ceiling, these V-shaped SoundAngle® felt acoustic panels are the perfect fit. They help absorb sound from multiple directions while providing a unique and stylish addition to the ceiling.

12. Multi-Level Dimension

This white room contains circular slitted panels. Arched windows make up the right wall. There are four rows of white tables with desktops.
“Contemporary Office” Featuring: SoftGrid® Round by Arktura

For a structural design, round baffles positioned at different levels create an acoustically controlled space with subtle dimensionality. SoftGrid® Round is a continuous series of rings that can be connected together, hung at different heights, span the entire ceiling or focus on a targeted area. The color options are wide-ranging, but in this case, white is the perfect choice for a neutral, unobtrusive design.

13. Subtle Stripes

A person on their laptop sits at a long rectangular table with chairs. Two other people are also in the room. Windows line the walls and couches and green chairs fill the additional space. The room has grey pointed ceiling panels.
“Madison Marquette” Washington, DC, Perkins+Will, Featuring: SoundAngle® by Arktura

Industrial spaces have a lot of character and appeal. They also need acoustic control. These SoundAngle® panels blend in perfectly with the industrial style ceiling without detracting from its appearance. They offer perfect sound control for the people using the space, making it the ideal spot for studying, working or relaxing.

14. Wood-Inspired Trellis

This area has three suspended wooden grids and four circular light fixtures. There are trees behind two sets of couches and chairs.
“Mid-Century Modern Hall”, Featuring: SoftSpan 48® by Arktura

To bring in an element of nature and nod to outdoor garden trellises, these SoftSpan® 48 grids are wrapped in wood-textured Soft Sound® PET felt and suspended from the ceiling. The biophilic element of these panels complements the greenery included in the design.

15. Industrial Complement

Metal ductwork and pointed rows of grey paneling make up the ceiling. Windows and rounded plants line the left wall while a long table with monitors and desk chairs lines the right side.
“Open Office” Featuring: SoundAngle® by Arktura

Industrial spaces with prominent ductwork as part of the design have a unique visual appeal. These SoundAngle® panels help add some acoustic control, without covering up the ducts or taking away from their appearance. Instead, they complement the style effortlessly, enhancing the industrial appearance of the room.

16. Three-Dimensional 

An office lobby with three employees, showcasing Arktura’s TriSoft triangular faceted pyramid faces in light grey with black metal substructure.
“Neustar” Reston, VA, HKS Architects, Garrett Rowland Photography, Featuring: TriSoft® by Arktura

PET felt can also be layered to create unique patterns and three-dimensional ceiling structures. This area features a triangular geometric and playful design that covers the entire ceiling, offering superior acoustics and a design element to the room at the same time.

17. Space-Age Style

This apartment has white honeycomb ceiling modules. The room has furniture and plants. There is a kitchen sink on the center of the island.
“Office Lounge” Featuring SoftGrid® Orbit by Arktura

SoftGrid® Orbit creates a space-age style in its honeycomb acoustic ceiling modules. These modules can connect together to span an entire room or create targeted acoustic support where it is needed most. The intricate pattern of panels included in each module is a space for light to play in, creating added depth within the room.

18. Dual Areas

A breakroom at the Carlyle Amenity Center, featuring several booths on the right-hand side, several black tables in the center, a foosball table on the left and a small kitchen in the back. SoftGrid Flux panels with a wood texture are hanging from the ceiling.
“Advanced Clinic” Chicago, IL, Box Studios – CH, Featuring: SoftGrid® Flux by Arktura

One of the nice things about this style of ceiling panel is the ability to use it right where you need it. This building has two types of ceilings — one standard drop ceiling above the kitchen ceiling and one acoustic SoftGrid® ceiling over the seating areas — offering the visual appeal and sound control it needs in the loudest area of the room. The wood texture of the Flux panels adds an extra layer of elegance to the functionality of the ceiling design.

19. Folded Patterns

This room has white acoustic ceiling panels. There is a white couch and pillows as well as black and white artwork and a black chair.
“Minotti Showroom” Atlanta, GA, Featuring: SoftFold® by Arktura

Get a contemporary look with PET felt that’s been folded into repeating patterns and designs. SoftFold® PET acoustic felt ceiling panels help soften the look of this contemporary room while complementing its strong lines and angles — and while offering sound control simultaneously.

20. Feel The Swell

This room has both chairs and a large white front desk. White wave-like panels make up the ceiling.
“EmPower Health” Ewa Beach, HI, RMA Architecture, Olivier Koning Photography, Featuring: Atmosphera® Swell by Arktura

The gentle swelling wave pattern of Atmosphera® Swell lends excitement that is somehow both soothing and energizing. Just as the ocean’s rhythm ebbs and flows, so do these dramatic felt acoustic panels.

21. Blue Waves

This room has blue weave-like paneling mixed with light fixtures. The room is full of tables and chairs. There are three windows and a brick wall.
“Nielson 675” New York, NY, The Switzer Group, Colin Miller Photography, Featuring: SoftFold® by Arktura

Create a subtle and brilliant backdrop for a room by adding some soft color to the ceiling. These SoftFold® panels are a rich blue color that creates the look of an ocean wave across the ceiling, adding a playful element to the room’s design and giving guests something to talk about while gathered together.

22. Open Weave

A white ceiling with weave-like paneling lines an office. The room is full of people at desks working. The bottom right corner contains a person mid-walk.
“Shoah Foundation” Los Angeles, CA, Belzberg Architects, Bruce Damonte (Photographer), Featuring: SoftFold® by Arktura

Busy spaces like this one need sound control to keep the area from getting overwhelmingly loud. However, with a low ceiling, the space would appear too closed-in. SoftFold® panels are the perfect solution — they offer a soft weave-like appearance that keeps the space from feeling too closed-in while adding much-needed acoustic control.

23. A Ceiling Cityscape

White SkyLine paneling lines the ceiling. There is a colorful mural with Coby’s company logo, trees and houses. A combination of booths and tables with chairs line the floor.
“Suny” Cobleskill, NY, Hamlin Design Group, Nicole McKasty-Stagg (Photographer) Featuring: SoftGrid® SkyLine by Arktura

Put the skyline on the ceiling with SoftGrid® SkyLine. Unlike the city, this skyline helps you avoid loud city noise and creates a dramatic look while controlling the room’s acoustics.

Make the Switch to PET Felt

By switching to PET felt for your acoustic designs, you open the doors to a wide range of possibilities in shape, color and style. You also get a durable, low-maintenance material that’s fully recyclable and green in construction. Make the switch to PET felt for your next project, and you will be amazed at the endless number of acoustic designs you can create.

For endless design possibilities, contact an expert at Arktura to discuss additional PET felt ceiling panel options.

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