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Reducing Office Noise With Soundproof Folding Room Dividers

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From homes to businesses, there are often times when a little quiet is necessary within a room or rooms. Soundproofing materials are fantastic at helping to absorb sound and reduce noise, but what happens when you only need soundproofing sometimes or when your needs change according to location? When your needs in soundproofing vary, soundproof folding room dividers may offer the solution you’re looking for.

Effective Sound Proofing

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There are many scenarios in homes and office buildings where soundproofing is required. From creating a study area to partitioning off places where private conversations are had, reducing and absorbing sound can be hugely beneficial to many people.

EchoPanel modular screen systems from Kerei offer flexible, versatile, and effective soundproofing solutions. Each panel, made from recycled plastic bottles, is designed to absorb the sounds in the area. The panels are pieced together with joints that allow you to customize the shape, size, and position of the panels to best meet your needs.

So, whether you need to quickly partition off a seating area to have a private conversation with a client, you want to set up a quiet study area in the midst of a busy room, the dividers can give you the results you need in just minutes.

Why Room Dividers

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Soundproofing materials are available in a wide range of different styles and options. From tiles to panels that you can use to build furniture, you have more options today in soundproofing your home, office, or school than ever before.

Soundproof folding room dividers offer a flexibility that adds another layer of usefulness, however. With a folding room divider, you have the ability to move the screen where you need it at the time. For open spaces and offices that have a more flexible layout, this is invaluable as it allows people to work and converse when and where they want to. Rather than adding soundproofing material to every inch of the room, the dividers let you move and set up the area you intend for use. They have the ability to screen you from view, as well as to help reduce the sound. So, you can get a more private area that’s useful for confidential conversations as well as for studying and concentration.

Room dividers also allow you to create semi-permanent work areas that can be changed at any time with little issue. For example, putting a divider between two desks gives you two private spaces that can be turned back into one by simply folding the divider away. As more offices begin to turn toward an open layout with emphasis being put on communal spaces and more socialization within the workplace, having the ability to create a temporary private area is sometimes necessary.

Room dividers that are also soundproof let you create the ultimate in privacy. And because they can fold flat when not in use, they’re easily stored until they next time they’re needed.

Versatile Options

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Soundproof room dividers come in a several shapes, sizes, and colors, which enable you to customize their use to your needs. Whether you intend to leave them out on a semi-permanent basis and need something that will complement your office décor, or you plan on moving and setting them up on a case by case basis, you can easily find a set of panels that work with your needs.

By selecting a “kit” of different parts, you can reconfigure your dividers again and again. Set up a three-way seating area to allow multiple users to have their own private space in one small area, or enclose a larger space within an open room to allow for quiet conversation.

Depending on how you intend to use the panels, you can purchase a set, leave them joined and merely take them out or fold them flat as needed, or configure a new set up each time you use them by manually joining the panels together. Either option is possible with the same soundproofing materials, so you can trust that the area you are enclosing or dividing will remain private and quiet for as long as you need it to be.

Get Customized Soundproofing that Works for You

As a greater emphasis is placed on flexibility within home and building layouts, a greater emphasis also needs to be placed on the materials necessary to make these areas work to the best of their ability. Soundproof folding room dividers give you that flexibility, while ensuring that you have the soundproofing and privacy necessary for study, conversation, or sensitive work. Whether you use them as a semi-permanent divider between two spaces, you continuously break them down and set them up in new ways, soundproof panels are a great investment in flexibility and function. Get the best of both worlds for your home or office space with soundproof folding room dividers to see what’s possible within a more quiet environment.

Incorporating Geometric Design Trends in Your Space

While geometric designs are super trendy right now, they’ve actually been a feature in art and architecture for centuries.

The re-birth of geometrics got a boost from the modern design trends in the 1930’s and have since become synonymous with a simple but noticeably chic style. Modern patterns and trending colors make this detail perfect for almost every interior design style.

So whether you want to dive in and create a truly modern space, or simply dip your toe in and add some bold flair, these geometric design trends will get you there.

Walls

Walls are a great way to make a big impact in your space, regardless of size. Geometric patterns can be as intricate or as simple as you’d like.

 

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This lively wallpaper pattern is subdued just enough by the use of only 2 colors. Note that the black sections create their own pattern-within-a-pattern, giving the design an elegant contrast and intricate detail.

 

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These Acoustic Geometry tiles from Kirei make changes for your space quick, easy and fun with their Peel and Stick installation feature. Designers, let your imagination and creativity run wild – the possibilities are endless with the variety of colors and shapes available.

 

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More lines, points and angles make a space feel lively and invigorating, while large scale patterns like this nursery wall can help to create a calmer atmosphere. This nursery provides a soothing vibe with its limited lines and subtle color choices.

 

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Colors are not the only way to make a geometric design pop. Varying depths and sizes of cubes creates a visually interesting pattern, adding texture and contrast. These Kirei tiles are very versatile and can be used to make limitless designs with different profiles and colors. The total effect is chic and subtle.

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Calling on historic designs, this modern pattern uses negative space to create a bold statement. This 1930’s era design will step up the glam factor in any room, and the linear pattern with square insets gives a space a feeling of movement and height.

 

Rugs

If you want to try a geometric print without a long-term commitment, consider using a rug in your space. Rugs can add just a hint of color or pattern to a room. They are a great way to implement geometric design in your overall style.

 

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This colorful pattern takes the edge off with soft, not harsh lines, which give the rug a hand-woven, artisan feel.

 

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The neutral color palette featured in this rug is an instant classic with a black and white combo. The larger pattern brings in just a touch of modern design.

 

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Tile

For those straight-line lovers, tile is the way to go. When furnishings are kept to a minimum, let your floor and wall tiles take center stage. These delightful patterns will quench anyone’s thirst for some order in a room.

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Bearing resemblance to a kaleidoscope, the collection of shapes in this cement tile is unified by a limited color palette. A bold, but intricate tiled floor or wall will command attention and brings personality to your space.

 

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If splashy isn’t what you want, try an intricate pattern in your favorite color. This will keep the pattern from becoming overwhelming, but still gives texture and sense of modern style.

 

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Mix it up a bit and create your own pattern with tiles of the same size and shape but different colors. Choose one color for the background and use that to make the other colors stand out. The placement of colors can be random or more ordered.

 

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Grout is great to use as a design element.  An unexpected color makes an intricate tile pattern really pop. The contrasting colors in this feature accentuate the beautiful curves and make this tile stand out.

Accent/Decor

Small accents are a great way to add just a touch of geometric design to your space. They can be easily changed if you find you don’t care for an aspect of the design.

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Metallics and geometric pieces go hand in hand, and this simple but bold vase demonstrates exactly why. The openness of the design and subtle finish keep the piece interesting—and it takes up less visual space.

 

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These faceted terrariums are perfectly poised to hold some fresh greenery. Another cool way to inject a small amount of style, they look great empty or with your favorite plant.

 

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This simple, fun print gives a tiny splash of color just where you need it. Brighten up a neglected wall in a corner or hang the design front and center above a table.

 

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Show off your collections in style with this modern shelf. The warm, reclaimed wood gives a rustic feel against angular steel brackets.

 

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Even your table can get a lesson in math. These fun, bold candleholders will liven up any table setting, and maybe even start a conversation!

Geometrics are an enduring design style. Clean lines create simpler designs while busy patterns bring a bit of playfulness to a space. Small touches update a room and larger pieces set the stage for a modern space.

Geometrics don’t have to take over your home. You can easily mix and match patterns with old and new styles. Whatever your preference or style, this design trends will bring a sophisticated and pulled-together space.

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7 Colorful Office Products to Boost Creativity

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Moo Office in London | From Mashable.com

The Power of Color

Color can seriously impact productivity. It seems obvious (especially if you are a designer or architect), but many people take the power of color for granted. The University of Texas actually conducted a study that found neutrals – think the typical white, gray, brown – negatively affected worker productivity and mood.

Unsurprisingly, bland, boring colors do little to spark creativity. But consistently, office desks, cubicles and partitions seem to rely heavily on these drab hues. So what can you do to spruce up your office vibes?

Whether you are designing a brand new office space or revamping your little corner in a sea of cubicles, we’ve got you covered. Below are some of our favorite eye-catching, colorful office products that are sure to help boost productivity!

Colorful Office Products

1) Area rug

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An area rug under a conference table or even your desk can tie a room together and adds some vibrancy to typically boring office floors. Remember, different colors evoke different emotions. Go moody with a deep red or calm the space down with some blue hues.

2) Wall tiles

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If you’ve got some white walls that can use a pop of color, there are some easy-to-install tiles that can seriously update the design game in your space. Tiles (like the new Topo Tiles) can come in a wide variety of colors to match your decor and can also help absorb sound (design-friendly & sound-friendly!)

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Wave Tile – Eric Laignel Photography

 

3) Filing cabinet

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A small addition that can go a long way: switch up your filing cabinet for something bright and eye-catching! If your cabinet is attached to your desk, don’t worry: there are some great DIY instructions on how to cover your filing cabinet with wallpaper (yes: WALLPAPER!) Easy peasy (for the most part) and a budget-friendly way to add colorful office products to your space.

4) Flower pots

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Who can’t use a little green in their space? When a plant wall isn’t an option, look no further than bright pots to hold your indoor plants. There are many out there that are colorful, and some even are self-watering! Sounds like the perfect colorful office product to us!

5) Office chairs

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Similar to a filing cabinet, consider swapping out your boring black office chair for a bright colored (and still ergonomically friendly!) chair! Irene Turner makes unique colorful chair designed with your back and body in mind.

6) Partitions

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Throw up some “walls” with some bright colored partitions in an open office. This adds both color and privacy to the space (which are both very beneficial to creativity at times). So many partitions and systems come in a variety of colors, so matching decor and choosing inspiring colors shouldn’t be an issue.

7) Wall Prints & Pictures

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A very budget friendly option to add some color to your space: throw up some prints! Whether you get a huge piece to hang in a lobby or conference room or some small pictures to pin to your cubicle wall, this is an easy solution to spice up the office.

Spruce Up Your Space

Color can really affect you, so be sure you are using colors correctly! There are even some online color charts you can use to help you plan your office vibes (if you aren’t a professional interior designer or architect). Color isn’t the only factor in a space that can affect creativity and productivity. Noise can dampen those too. Check out these tips to help improve the sound in your office space!

10 Commercial Spaces Using This Little Known Natural Product

As the environmental impact of buildings and building products becomes better understood, commercial building owners, architects and designers are being pressed to find products that are not only responsible and sustainable sourced but beautiful and natural looking as well.

Needs like these drive people to use beautiful, sustainable products like FSC-certified wood and recycled content tile, but there is another great product that’s not nearly as popular, but is just a beautiful, is a sustainable resource and delivers a great end-product: Sorghum Plywood, or Kirei Board.

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Sorghum plywood is made from rapidly renewable reclaimed sorghum stalks left over after harvest for food, plus a zero- VOC adhesive. It’s strong, lightweight and durable, with a beautiful grain that makes it a perfect alternative to traditional wood.

Being environmentally conscious does not have to come at the expense of beautiful design. Check out 10 examples of how commercial spaces used Kirei Board to make a statement.

Nova Nail Spa

Nova Nail Spa in San Francisco, California used only environmentally sustainable materials for the interior structure and finishes of their business, including sorghum plywood Kirei Board for their pedicure stations, desks and other interior furnishings. Their design choice contributes to the relaxing atmosphere, and  provides an overall healthier experience for their guests.

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Turtle Bay Resort Bar

This Hilton property resort on the island of Oahu, Hawaii needed little help setting an island feel; however, the Kirei Board bar front paired with the tropical background makes it easy for anyone to relax and enjoy their surroundings.

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Lynx Fashion Retailer

Clothing retailers are having to fight harder than ever to set themselves apart from the competition. Lynx, a fashion retailer based in the UK, updated their mannequin boxes with Kirei Board to add a complement to their clothing and draw in new customers.

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Pairing modern elements like this white textured wall with the natural, organic looking agrifiber panel reception desk is a great way to keep a commercial office space up-to-date in design while still creating an office reception area that feels inviting and warm.

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JT Schmid’s Restaurant and Brewery

JT Schmid’s uses Sorghum plywood to lighten up their dark wood booths. This design choice helps to set a comfortable, cozy atmosphere in this “California Casual” restaurant and allows patrons to relax and enjoy their company.

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Centex Homes

A homebuilding company with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, Centex knows the value of a good first impression. To balance out the dramatic red walls in their office, they added decorative agrifiber panels to their reception desk to make sure it stands out to everyone who walks into the space.

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Loews Hotel

This luxury hotel in Los Angeles, California used Kirei Board to craft their chic bar as well as the table tops in the adjoining restaurant. The lighter plywood pieces contrasted against the darker wood trim of the table and room fabrics help to create that opulent feel that luxury hotel patrons are accustomed to.

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Ardent Brewery

Ardent Brewery in Richmond, Virginia features a  large sorghum plywood wall behind their bar wall. To add to the charm, they even have a sorghum beer!

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Desert Living Center at the Springs Preserve

Positioned near the Mojave Desert, this community center has a mission to inspire and educate the surrounding community on sustainable building practices, conservation of natural resources, and ways that they can be more environmentally responsible. Designed by Lucchesi Galati, the Living Tree sculpture created from Sorghum plywood adds visual appeal as well as makes an environmental statement.  

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Whole Foods

With a sales floor composed completely of organic and natural products, it is no shock that this Whole Foods location chose to use decorative agrifiber panels to add a more natural feel. These aisle headers enhance the store cosmetically while also giving a subtle nod to the company’s core mission of creating a more sustainable world.

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Sustainable and environmentally responsible choices are taking center stage for consumers everywhere, and it should come as no surprise that this trend has made its way into the design world as well.

Want to get a sample of this unique material in your hands? Request a sample here!

Commercial Interior Design Trends for 2017

With a new year comes unexpected new design trends. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 commercial interior design trends we’re excited to see in 2017.

1. Recycled Products

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Building green is nothing new, but upcycling and recycling continue to grow in importance.

It’s not enough to just re-use pallets as a coffee table, designers and architects are looking for materials that can make a real impact on how we manage waste.

One way we are supporting this effort is through are amazingly designed Echopanel Tiles. Every EchoPanel tile and panel is made of 60% recycled plastic. This means those bottles you put in the recycling bin actually go somewhere and get used again.

2. Terracotta

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Photo Credit: smgh.com/au

Terracotta is back! But this year’s Terracota will bring to mind rustic Italian cottages, not your grandmother’s lanai. Whether it’s in the form of beautiful terracotta pots or rustic tiles, the color can be used in many ways to make your commercial space more interesting.

3. Dark Furniture & Natural Element Walls

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In 2016 it was all about the neutral rooms and blonde floors and furniture. But 2017 is predicted to change that. So don’t throw out your dark, rich toned furniture just yet. Dark accents in 2017 should bring in drama and interest without overwhelming the space. Natural elements like our Coco Tiles are a great way to keep a room airy while taking advantage of this fun trend.

4. Green

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If you haven’t heard yet, Pantone has declared Greenery the 2017 color of the year. It’s gorgeous and rich tone goes very well with the Dark Timber trend. So, if you’re looking to make a beautiful statement for one of your rooms, this is the trend to follow.

5. Desert Chic

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Photo Credit: designtrends.com

What do you get when you combine geometric patterns with the Terracotta, and Green trends? That’s right, you get an amazing Desert Chic room. This fun and unique trend is expected to gain a lot of traction in 2017 and rightfully so. This look is perfect for an small office space or design room. Lots of inspiration happening here!

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Top 5 Acoustic Design Projects of 2016

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This year has been full of success stories for Kirei. We’ve seen so many designers do such incredible, stunning projects with our acoustic products. To celebrate these designs, we’ve rounded up 5 of our favorite acoustic design projects from 2016. Take a look and gain some design inspiration of your own!

1. Liquid Advertising Simple Baffles

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Who says neutrals are boring? Design studio Verdego Design incorporated EchoPanel custom baffles to be the “unique centerpiece for the high ceilings in the center of the space.” Inspired by the motion and movement of a wave, these baffles were easy to fabricate and install.

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Design: Verdego Design, LLC
Photography: Augusta Quirk Photography

2. Boba Latte Vee Tiles

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This coffee shop is anything but average. Designed by 2[g] Habitats and the owner of Boba Latte, EchoPanel Vee tiles were used on one entire wall of the space. The original space had serious echo issues, so the designers turned to Vee tile to help absorb sound and add some serious aesthetic appeal.


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Design: 2[g] Habitats
Photography: 2[g] Habitats

3. Ultimate Software Custom Simple Baffles

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When looking to “create a sense of direction and wayfinding” in this open office space, interior design studio P2 Interiors turned to the simple baffle for acoustic design projects inspiration. The vibrant color and custom shapes of the baffles appeal to the senses visually as well as maintain noise in the commercial office setting.

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Designer: P2 Interiors
Photography: Lagdood Photography

4. Marriott Springhill Suites

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Designed by JG Johnson Architects, this space divider in this Texas hotel is one of our favorites. These custom-cut panels were designed to break up the lobby space and absorb sound in the multi-function room. Unique design, vibrant colors, and easy-to-install hanging hardware – what’s not to love?

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Designer: JG Johnson Architects
Photography: Kirei

5. Elum Designs Open Office

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No stranger to unique designs, Elum Designs added some color and sound absorption with EchoPanel. The open office setting looked amazing, but allowed (unsurprisingly) for acoustic issues to arrive. The owners of Elum chose EchoScreen and EchoSky to save the day in this acoustic design project.

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Looking for some more design inspiration for your acoustic projects? Check out this blog post all about commercial design ideas! And don’t forget to follow along on Instagram for daily updates on the latest interior design inspiration!

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7 Sustainable Products for the Responsible Designer

7-sustainabledesign-products-for-the-responsible-designer-1Sustainability in architecture and interior design is nothing new, and more often is (thankfully) becoming the norm. With an endless number of eco-friendly and sustainable products to use in your spaces, the task of narrowing down the options can seem daunting.

We’ve listed 7 of our favorite sustainable design products to help you create more healthy, environmentally conscious spaces.

1) Richlite Commercial Counter Tops

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Richlite’s website says it best: “Get the brawn with the brains.” These countertops are designed to be simultaneously tough enough for serious use and appealing to the eye.

With the countertops’ through colors, heat resistance and custom edge design capabilities, it’s hard to believe that this sustainable product is made from recycled paper. Richlite’s products also contribute to LEED points. Eco-friendly win-win!

2) Fireclay Tiles

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These handmade tiles are a sustainable step in the right direction. Made of recycled glass, porcelain, and lead-free paint, these bright tiles come in 150 standard colors and 24 standard shapes — not to mention the custom capabilities.

Fireclay’s company value of “treading lightly on our earth”  shines through in their dedication to using post-industrial granite dust, locally sourced glass and local scrap porcelain.

3) Bamboo

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If you’re not familiar with this age-old, rapidly renewable product, we aren’t really sure where you have been. Essentially the epitome of sustainable products, bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world (one to four inches in a day!) It can actually be harvested every three years without any damage to the environment.

Bamboo is perfect for table tops, desk tops, cabinetry, wall paneling — the list goes on and on. Sustainable and versatile – what’s not to love?

4) Emeco Su Chair Collection

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In Japanese, “Su” represents the idea of “plain” or “unadorned,” and this cork-based chair collection sticks to that idea in both simplicity of design and environmental footprint.

Made of cork (a rapidly renewable and sustainable product) and aluminum, these stools and chairs offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Emeco also adheres to strict environmentally conscious decisions in choosing materials and methods that go beyond just making their product.

5) Oceanside Glasstile

Vignette photography of Devotion glass tile line includes new patterns and new Italian glass and antique mirror.

 “From Curbside to Oceanside” serves as Oceanside Glasstile’s company mantra, so this Southern Californian manufacturer does not only focus on providing sustainable products. Oceanside Glasstile’s goals also include targeting improvements in energy reduction, elimination of waste and green business practices.

With an entire selection of stunning tiles, our favorite tile stands out from the rest. TheDevotion wall tiles are used to create stunning backsplashes and accent walls. These sustainable tiles are available in 9 patterns and 30 colors. Designer- and earth-friendly all in one!

6) Ecovative Myco Board

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If you haven’t seen any of Ecovative’s sustainable products, you’re missing out. This company grows – yes, GROWS – certified sustainable products that help designers create healthy, non-toxic spaces.

Using just three ingredients (mycelium, hemp, and starch), Ecovative creates furniture for your home and office. Their Myco Board serves as non-toxic wood that can be molded into custom shapes and panels. Ideal eco-friendly design solution for a multitude of spaces!

7) Coco Tiles

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These coco tiles are renewable, recycled and ready to use in your next indoor project! Available in two styles and 8 different earth tones, this sustainable product adds perfectly to the design and aesthetic of any neutral-toned or tropical-themed room.

Recycled from harvested coconuts, the husks turn into tiles that are either meshed-back or self-backed. These backings make installation easy using a low- or zero-VOC construction adhesive.

Selecting sustainable products thankfully gets easier and easier these days. More manufacturers feel a responsibility to the environment to create healthy, responsibly-produced products, which leaves a lot of options for designers and architects to choose from.

Looking for some ways to incorporate these products in your spaces?

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4 Tips To Create More Productive Conference Rooms

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Acoustic materials don’t have to be boring!

Consider the conference room – home to your most vital meetings, but too often today’s conference room is more echochamber than productive space. The sleek modern look that’s all the rage results in hard surfaces that brutally reflect every sound, turning a conference call into cacophony. While these offices seem to radiate efficiency, they rarely create an environment that absorbs noise and keeps privacy top of mind.

So how do you solve these issues? Acoustically absorbent material to the rescue!

Tip #1: Use Acoustic Material to Soak Up Sound in Open Spaces

Nothing new to the design world, acoustically absorbent material is used in a variety of spaces. And in conference rooms, these materials really get to work their magic, reducing sound bouncing around a space and making speech sound clearer and more understandable.

To really ensure that sound is absorbed in a meeting room, the walls and ceilings are the main surfaces to address. (The floor typically is not something that can be fixed as easily, aside from installing carpet or laying down a large, soft rug.) Acoustic wall panels are typically the quickest fix.

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You don’t always need floor to ceiling acoustic coverage to control the sound in your space.

Wall panels don’t have to completely cover an entire wall (like the design of the conference room above!). Imagine sound as a tennis ball in a room — constantly bouncing around and off of every surface it interacts with. When sound encounters a soft surface — like the acoustic panels — some of that sound is absorbed, so a smaller amount is bounced back into the room.

To avoid sound continuing to reverberate around the room, the more acoustic material introduced in the space, the better.

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Love the white wall look? EchoPanel helps soothe both visually and acoustically.

The designer of the conference room pictured above wanted to make sure that the minimal, simple design of this space was kept, but acoustic control was also included. Enter white wall panels. These installed panels created the clean, white wall look and added vital sound absorption to this space intended to cater to large meetings.

Featuring even more acoustic material, this conference room below was clad almost entirely in acoustic panels. This space is used almost entirely for overseas teleconferencing, so sound absorption for clear speech was paramount.

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For teleconferencing, reduced echo is essential for clear understandable calls. Cover the entire ceiling and walls in acoustic material for complete acoustic control in your conference room.

Carpet was also installed, which in turn absorbs even more sound since it’s a soft surface. If it’s possible for a space to incorporate this more acoustic material, privacy and speech intelligibility are at ideal levels.

Tip #2: Match Your Acoustic Solutions to Your Preferences and Uses of the Space

Everyone perceives sound differently and spaces have different uses.

Too much sound absorption can result in a “dead” room, so it’s key to tune the space to your desired sound levels and clarity. These acoustic material-heavy applications shown above aren’t always possible or even the desired design of a conference room (the CIA interrogation room look isn’t for everyone).

Sometimes clients are in search of something more simple, yet bright.

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Add some visual interest and sound control to your conference room with bright colored EchoPanel panels

The client who designed the conference room with the orange panels wanted to use acoustic material in their project, but didn’t have the desire or budget to install a large amount of panels. They chose instead to install some single panels with standoffs, so that an air gap was created behind the panels for increased acoustic performance.

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Adding an air gap behind your acoustic materials is an easy way to increase sound absorption!

When space is made behind acoustic materials, greater sound absorption occurs. For clients who don’t have a huge budget for acoustics or don’t want a lot of product installed to the walls or ceilings, this fix is a great way to ensure that sound is captured in a meeting room.

Don’t forget – It may be necessary to take other acoustic precautions as well to maintain privacy, like making sure windows and doors are sealed properly and eliminating speech transmission over plenums or through HVAC.

Tip #3: Cover the Critical Areas of the Walls

These orange panels above were installed in the critical area between 3’ and 7’ above the floor – this is where we speak either seated or standing, so that’s where sound is generated and should be absorbed for best effect.

In addition, make sure to cover adjacent walls to capture sound bouncing back and forth between parallel walls.  If 2 adjacent walls are covered, then there are now no parallel walls to bounce sound waves back and forth. This will result in increased sound clarity and reduced reverberation.

Another way to fix sound in a room by using decorative acoustically absorbent material, like these thermoformed tiles made of soft material, like PET fibers.

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Add easy-to-install acoustic tiles to the walls of your space for visual appeal and better acoustics.

The client who designed this room chose to install EchoPanel Dune Tiles on one wall of this smaller conference room and, because of the air gap, more sound control (not to mention visual interest) were introduced into the room.

Tip#4: Don’t forget the ceiling!

Ceilings can receive treatment too! By hanging clouds or baffles, or just covering ceiling’s hard surfaces with acoustic panels, significant echo reduction can be achieved. The conference room pictured below is a perfect example of installing interesting, sound-absorbing material to a space that might not have much wall room to work with.

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No more boring ceilings! Do something more unique with interesting acoustic configurations, like EchoPanel EchoStars.

This client chose to look up instead and hang this visually dynamic ceiling system from their exposed ceiling. These clusters of EchoStars hanging ceiling clouds are made with sound-absorbing EchoPanel in shapes that help deflect and help absorb sound that is carried up from those using the space.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-stop fix-all solution to addressing conference room noise. But the applications described in this article will definitely help you mitigate noise issues and reintroduce privacy back into your conference rooms.

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Commercial Office Design: The Anatomy of Highly Productive Office Spaces

Commercial Office Design is not just an art, it’s also part science. Creating an optimal work environment is a delicate balance of space planning, light, sound, aesthetics and natural elements along with flow and function.  

Increase productivity by making your office space a happier place to be.

Healthy environments make happy employees

Personal health also plays a large part in productivity and creativity – using low VOC materials on surfaces and in furnishings reduces toxins in the indoor atmosphere and contributes to health and wellbeing of employees. Better air circulation can also help with better office productivity.

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“The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report suggesting that up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings may have excessive complaints about indoor air quality.”

Walking the Walk

As you work to make your office more environmentally friendly, you may also see employee engagement go up. Employees will be proud to work for a company committed to the environment

Increase sustainability to improve your employee’s health while also positively impacting the health of the planet. One simple way to make your office more sustainable without a costly and time consuming redesign or refit is to change the furniture for durable, adaptable and functional furniture that will stay with your office space as the company evolves.

Avoid petroleum based products and adhesives with high VOCs. A great material to work with when increasing sustainability is bamboo, a wood alternative that can lower your office’s carbon footprint.

 

Use Acoustic Materials to Keep it Quiet – But not too Quiet

Offices are often incredibly noisy with printers humming, phones ringing, and multiple conversations going at once. Reducing that noise can be instrumental in increasing productivity and morale while decreasing stress.

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Consider these noise reducing options:

  • Acoustic ceiling and wall panels: sound absorbing panels are incredibly effective, but not always aesthetically pleasing. Thankfully, there are more modern options on the market today.
  • Dedicated quiet spaces: especially in open offices, it can be beneficial for employees to find a retreat in a smaller, dedicated quiet space. An all glass enclosure can maintain the aesthetics of an open office.
  • Playing ambient noise: background noise played at a consistent volume can mask unwanted noise.
  • Noise reducing flooring: thoughtful flooring choices can also decrease noise in an office. Products such as carpet and vinyl flooring are traditionally quieter, but installing and resilient underlayer with bamboo on top can increase sustainability while also decreasing noise.

 

Natural Elements Make for Happier Workers

Employees who work in environments with natural elements reported a 13% higher level of well-being and are 8% more productive overall according to a report commissioned by Interface.

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Using natural materials, such as reclaimed wood or bamboo, in your decor and having low maintenance plants in the office are simple ways to integrate that insight. Use lighter colors to paint offices so you keep your indoor environments calm without being boring.

Incorporating nature in places like small waterfalls, fish tanks, atriums and outdoor grounds keeping all add up to a positive work environment that benefits workers and your business alike.

 

Use Privacy Panels for More Focused Work Spaces

Utilizing privacy panels in your office can increase productivity by giving employees privacy and decreasing noise levels in the office.

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A major benefit of modular panels lies in their flexibility. As employee needs change, teams are formed, or new projects are started the panels can be moved as needed. Lastly, some panels are designed with aesthetics in mind, such as open shelving and white boards.

 

Accent through Natural Light to Increase Productivity

68% of employees are unhappy about the lighting in their office, according to a study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design.screenshot-2016-10-17-11-53-21

Maximizing existing natural light is a fairly simple way to improve employee satisfaction while also increasing office sustainability (by decreasing the need for artificial lighting). But the benefits of natural lighting in an office go far beyond just putting employees in a better mood.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that participants with windows in their offices got 46 minutes more sleep per night and even reported exercised more after work than workers with no natural light in their workspaces.

 

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4 Ways To Fix Echo in High Ceiling Offices

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It’s a pretty simple recipe: high ceilings + hard floor + drywall = acoustical disaster in an office. Aesthetically speaking, these types of offices are appealing, providing a clean, sophisticated look. However, if you have ever had a conference call or even a 2- or 3-person meeting in a room like this, you know that echo issues can come to the forefront fast. Even with a small number of voices present, conversation becomes difficult to hear clearly.

So why does this occur?

The Science
The sound from the phone speaker or from your colleague’s voice reverberates around the room and bounces off of any hard surface – the largest surfaces being the walls. This reflection of sound is known as “flutter echo.” Flutter echo happens when two hard and flat surfaces are placed parallel and then sound reflects off both surfaces quickly, with little absorption occurring. This doesn’t just happen between two walls – it also can occur between floors and ceilings.

So what can you do to remedy this acoustic issue?

The Solutions

Obviously, introducing sound absorbing materials into the space is crucial…a nonnegotiable, even. Below are some ways to do just that in a creative and visually appealing way. You don’t have to sacrifice the cool factor to have better acoustics in your work space.

  1. Acoustic Tiles. Typically easy to install and often times made from renewable materials (like these!), acoustic tiles can add some serious design elements to your office while helping buffer all that sound and echo bouncing around the walls. With a wide variety of colors and shapes, tiles can either cover an entire wall or various portions of each wall.vee tile 1 (Medium)
    TIP: Keep in mind that, if used on parallel walls in sections, it is best to not put the tiles directly across from each other. Stagger the tile sections across the walls, so that if sound is bounced off of a hard, bare part of the wall, it will directly reflect into an absorbing material.

     

  2. An Area Rug. Create a warm, inviting feel by rolling out a decorative rug over the hardwood or concrete floors within an office to add a stylish absorbing material in the room. While this suggestion is not a fix-all to the acoustic problems within a room, it will definitely help with the sound reflecting from the high ceiling onto the ground.Mura Quattro 2
  3. A Hanging Baffle System. Think of this as an acoustic chandelier of sorts. Though not as flashy, hanging baffle racks can come in quite a range of different styles and can even be worked around lighting (though we recommend getting an expert involved before rigging up your own baffle lighting system).By simply adding a hanging acoustic system above your desk or in the center of the room (while taking into consideration the space’s size), you can greatly improve the acoustics of the office by decreasing volume levels and absorbing more noise.
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  4. Acoustic Panels. Similar to the idea of tiles, acoustic panels can absorb sound while covering a larger range of surface area on a wall. Many people line an entire wall with panels, and since there is such a wide range of color and pattern options, along with ways to print photographs directly to panel material, the design options are endless.mit110712_img02
    TIP: To avoid only solving half of the problem when installing panels, try to make sure that the walls adjacent to each other, rather than the parallel walls, are covered with the panels. In doing this, you guarantee that even if sound is reflected off of a hard wall, there is an absorptive surface waiting for it.

Acoustical issues are often thought of after the design and construction of an office takes place, rather than before. However, acoustics are just as important as lighting and the layout of an office. By taking these tips and working them into your space, you can solve your echo issues in no time.