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The importance of an excellent indoor acoustic environment from a designer’s perspective

09 July 2020

At Rockfon we always want to help our customers to increase their knowledge, which is why we hosted an online competition. Read our interviews with the two winners and find out the emphasis that they give to designing for wellbeing and acoustics.

office workers, interior design, meeting people

After watching our WELL Building Standard™ webinar, the participants were invited to compete in an online quiz with questions about wellbeing. We asked the two winners: Jorgina Betorz López from Spain and Georges Dantine from Belgium about why they shape their designs for wellbeing and excellent indoor acoustics.

Read our interview with them.

The webinar was about “How to design inspiring buildings focused on indoor climate and wellbeing”. What have you learned from it?

Jorgina: After the interesting seminar about climate and wellbeing in buildings, I was able to reaffirm my knowledge and the theories about these topics. We spend a lot of time in our houses, and this makes us understand that good architectural and interior design, united with aesthetics and indoor climate, generates a much more pleasant stay.

Georges: Within my years of being an interior architect, I gained a lot of knowledge about wellbeing and room acoustics. The position of the WELL Building Standard™ is a confirmation of the growing interest in this topic.

The indoor environment should be a place of comfort. Excellent room acoustics are essential to achieve this. Do you take this into account in your designs?

Jorgina: There is no doubt that the interior environment is extremely more comfortable when acoustics have been considered in the design. Whether being at home or in public spaces like restaurants, when we have a good indoor acoustic environment, people stay longer. It can be a few minutes or hours longer, but it always feels more pleasant. Unfortunately, we all have experienced classrooms or restaurants where the noise is unbearable. All the sounds are mixed together, and it becomes very annoying. It does not even allow you to hear or understand the words spoken by the people in the room. It is a must to always start your design with good acoustics so that we can create comfortable and pleasant spaces.

Georges: For me, the design of a project always starts with thinking about how to integrate good room acoustics, even before lighting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant or an office. I always think about acoustics, first and foremost!

Unfortunately, we all have experienced classrooms or restaurants where the noise is unbearable.

Jorgina Betorz López

Interior Designer

Does including room acoustics limit or extend the design?

Jorgina: Without a doubt, I can affirm that good room acoustics always gives me peace of mind when finishing a design. From my point of view, good interior design cannot be without good indoor acoustics. There are plenty of concepts and solutions where acoustics and design go hand-in-hand without limitations.

Georges: We cover all sectors, with specialization in restaurants and shops, where we solve room acoustic challenges efficiently and aesthetically. It does not limit us because we use acoustic solutions that integrate harmoniously into every space. One of my strengths is to address the problem of acoustic reverberation, nicely and without adjusting the rest of the layout, which is why I use many acoustic islands such as Rockfon® System Eclipse Island™ in all shapes and existing colours.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant or an office. I always think about acoustics, first and foremost!

Georges Dantine

Interior designer

How do you explain the importance of room acoustics?

Jorgina: A well-balanced interior design cannot exist without the presence of good room acoustics. Sound is one of the many factors that accompany us all day long, and this is the reason why we must take this into account in all our projects, in the same way as the aesthetic aspect. Over time I have seen multiple places where acoustics had not been treated as such. This is one of the factors that makes me observe that it is not a topic that all designers treat with the same importance, something I cannot understand. This is not something that you see, but it is fundamental for comfort, just as it can be that a space has a good aroma or beautiful aesthetics.

Georges: Explaining why room acoustics are so important is not always easy, especially to our clients. I learned that it is important to let the client “hear” him- or herself. At GDAI, we have a small showroom with different acoustic solutions so that the clients can experience it themselves.

Jorgina, you recently graduated as an interior designer from BAU (the Design College of Barcelona, Centro Universitario de Diseño). How much did you learn about the subject of room acoustics during your education?

Jorgina: At BAU, we studied acoustics on multiple occasions and from various perspectives. We learned to understand what it is and how you can incorporate it into your design. I must emphasize that I have always been somewhat sensitive to sound, where various tones can bother me a lot. That is why I’m not able to enter a space without noticing whether the [acoustics] have been corrected for or not. It is something that is always with me wherever I go.

Georges, you are an experienced interior architect. What are the most significant changes that you’ve experienced through the years?

George: In the old days, the subject of acoustics was only reserved for the fanatics among us. Now certainly not anymore. I always see myself as a forerunner, where today it is common to integrate room acoustics in every design.

When it comes to acoustics and interior design, how do you think it will look like in 30 years from now?

Jorgina: It is somewhat complicated to imagine the future evolution of acoustics in interior design. I wish that acoustics would be considered in all designs from the starting point. In that way, we can fully enjoy each room we are in. Acoustics in interior design should not be just another aspect. It must be an essential and fundamental part of any project, for now, and in the future.

Georges: Today, acoustic solutions are mostly integrated into ceilings. In the future built environment, you will see them integrated everywhere. You can think of walls, windows, furniture and other interior objects.

 

Thank you to Jorgina Betorz López and Georges Dantine for taking the time to speak with us and sharing your insight into the importance of acoustics and indoor wellbeing.