For years there have been calls for sustainability in furniture design. That said, it is not always easy to define just exactly what is meant by this, which makes it difficult to actually put sustainability into practice. Soundsticks® by Swedish furniture maker Offect are a good example of how a sustainable product can nonetheless be realized; in this case recycled fabric is transformed into a sound absorbing device for large open plan spaces like offices. Specifically, the cylinder-shaped elements are suspended from a rail where they not only act as a zoning room divider but also absorb ambient sound. They come in packs of eight, and eight sticks have the same sound damping effect as six Soundwave Scrunch® acoustic panels by Offecct.
The acoustic elements are suspended from height-adjustable steel wires attached to linear or circular metal rails mounted on the ceiling. This modular system provides many variations for creating a room within a room. While in the standard version linear divisions are possible, Soundsticks® Radie also permit organic zoning. Moreover, the individual elements can also be combined to form a cluster configuration. They can be used to create privacy, but thanks to their round form still allow enough light into the zoned areas. And room acoustics can be adjusted flexibly by simply altering the number of elements.
Soundsticks® were developed by Italian-Hungarian designer Andrea Ruggiero who was invited by Offecct to attend a workshop in 2017. The brief was to come up with an idea for reusing the material remnants and waste that result from the production of Offecct products in Tibro. The workshop was followed by a two-year development phase – the outcome can best be summed up by the sentence “zero waste with 100 percent design”. Essentially, the scraps are formed into removable covers for the Soundsticks® whose core consists of recycled textile scraps and recycled PET. The color scale results from the availability of the textile scraps that are first sorted into the colors gray, blue, green and red before being used. This means no two sticks look the same. Thanks to the different colors the elements can also be used as a styling tool in a variety of ways.
Recycled aluminum is used for the caps at each end of the Soundstick® tube. Moreover, in the interests of sustainability no glue is used in making the individual elements. And indeed in 2020 this Offect product received the Green Good Design Award, initiated by Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames to recognize sustainable approaches in design.