Noise and cozy fabrics
Working in open-plan offices might be very much in vogue, but it is not always pleasant: The person next to you is talking loudly on the phone, your colleagues at the desk opposite are conversing excitedly – everywhere there is a jumble of voices, phones ringing, the tapping of computer keys. Anyone unwilling or not allowed to resort to headphones will quickly find doing concentrated work in such an environment a challenge. Sound-absorbing elements are designed to help prevent the background noise in large and often minimalist open-plan offices sounding like a weekly market. And these elements are available in numerous shapes and colors, as playful wall elements, for instance, decorative stands and flexible acoustic panels mounted directly on the desk. In addition, confidential phone calls can also be made in small cubicles reminiscent of the telephone booths from a bygone era. Those requiring greater privacy can retire to secluded soundproofed cabins – usually glass cubicles with sound-absorbing elements. You might still be visible, but you do have your peace and quiet.
At the “leading international trade fair for the modern working world,” in short Orgatec, the topic of sound protection is omnipresent this year. Amidst so much materiality and cozy, lounge-style acoustic dampers it is easy to forget that this exhibition actually focuses on office furniture. The oh-so-popular plants as sound protection seen at the imm cologne in January are somewhat thin on the ground here – fabric, fabric, fabric is the name of the game. And in an office landscape with such a strong emphasis on fabrics, rectangular desks and streamlined office chairs almost appear out of place.