Sound and vision
Apr 24, 2013

Open-plan offices, hotel lobbies and conference rooms involve very distinct acoustics, a diffuse reverb that often proves rather unpleasant. Noise simply bounces off the natural stone flooring, large windows and smooth walls, making for a constant background buzz. One way of improving the acoustics in such a space is to install curtains. Until now, most clients turned to velour curtains, which may be good at absorbing sound but are heavy and opaque as a result. Textile designer Annette Douglas has now developed a light, translucent curtain fabric that nevertheless absorbs sound. The result is now part of the portfolio at Vescom, manufacturer of decorative textiles, and is available in three different versions. These innovative curtain fabrics feature a modified three-dimensional texture, are made using several specially developed yarns and “absorb” five times more noise than do conventional curtains. Since these textiles are destined for use in public spaces, hotel lobbies, and conference rooms, they are also flame-retardant. As such, names such as Carmen, Marmara and Formoza now stand for high-tech woven materials that not only look good but also do a little something to enhance comfort; absorbing sounds, attenuating noise and letting in a little light at the same time.

Light, translucent and sound-absorbent – Marmara curtain fabric. Photo: © Vescom
Light, translucent and sound-absorbent – Marmara curtain fabric. Photo: © Vescom
A different pattern but still sound-absorbing – Carmen curtain fabric. Photo: © Vescom
Open-plan offices and conference rooms are often characterized by tricky acoustic conditions. Photo: © Vescom
Detail of the three-dimensionally textured fabric, Formoza. Photo: © Vescom
There is a visual note alluding to the three-dimensional texture that enables the curtain to absorb sound. Photo: © Vescom
Stone flooring and glazed surfaces reflect sound, Carmen curtain fabric on the other hand absorbs it. Photo: © Vescom
Formoza curtain fabric improves audibility in meeting rooms. Photo: © Vescom