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INTERIORS Exposing the issues


With exposing services continuing to grow in popularity in building designs, there’s an increasing focus on how to meet acoustic as well as lighting needs for workspaces, as Mike Attard of RIDI Lighting Group explains


he movement towards the removal of suspended ceilings and the exposing of services and ceiling structures has opened up many interior design possibilities. Unfortunately, it also opens up the prospect of excessive noise transmission, which is particularly unwelcome in an open plan workspace. It also presents challenges for the lighting systems too.


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One popular solution is the use of vertical baffles (louvres). These not only have practical and aesthetic appeal, but also offer easy, practical access to the building services. The principle being that you can still allow an open design while giving major consideration to the building users. A perfect example is where the system was used at Newscorp, within The Shard in central London. A combination of reflective glass and open structured ceiling could make for noisy cafe and bar areas. However the specification not only worked successfully in suppressing noise but also tied in very well aesthetically, due to the imaginative use of matching colours taken from the space. Vertical systems have long proven to be an established way to break down projected sound waves, and as such to be useful in the workspace. Designers can play with increased baffle depths or densities in order to produce the right sound absorption levels. This can be via prescriptive methods or led from the lighting design layout. Ultimately baffles combined with discrete integrated lighting modules provide a perfect ‘blank canvas’. There is also the opportunity to inject colour and texture to the space.


The blank canvas approach was successfully illustrated at the Quartermile Q3 Building in Edinburgh. Here all background lighting and acoustic standards alongside the provision of more domestic style fixtures. The result is a balance of professional looking workspace with attractive domestic accents.


101


Big Data Institute, University of Oxford


Acoustic baffle lighting systems also work well to delineate various working zones, with the use of varying colours. These are proving popular in breakout spaces where different textured finishes can even be introduced, including real wood veneers. An example can be seen at the restaurant area of an international bank’s London base. Though the wood veneers have low acoustic absorption rates, the perimeter edge of the baffles is exposed to allow a degree of noise suppression. As an alternative, printed wood effects could be used which would allow full acoustic attenuation. Finally, these systems work very well in light wells. They allow artificial light to


Baffles combined with discrete integrated lighting modules provide a perfect ‘blank canvas’


ADF SEPTEMBER 2021


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