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Understanding acoustic design elements in the office

photo source: Snowsound

photo source: Snowsound

Cell phone conversations, co-workers talking too loud, typing keyboards…it can all be VERY distracting. Especially when in an office setting. With the Open Plan being the new norm of an office space plan, it may seem like things will never quiet down. Luckily, there are sound absorbing resources to alleviate some of those distracting noises.

What is an acoustic space? An acoustic space refers to an acoustic environment in which sound is heard by an observer. Not only is proper acoustical design vital in the importance of the functionality of a space, but it can directly effect tasks that take place in those spaces. It is an elemental area of design work and one that can also enhance the visual appeal of a scheme as well as the acoustic comfort. There are two ways to solve an acoustic problem in a space: sound masking and sound absorption.

photo source: Lencore

photo source: Lencore

Sound Masking

Sound masking systems use a soft unnoticeable background sound through a speaker. It muffles any sounds or distractions within a setting. Users can control this sound masking setting by depending on the amount of distracting noise. The disturbing noise can be measured by sound level sensors that are installed in the ceiling. Therefore, the sound masking level can be adjusted in real-time. For further information on how sound masking works, check out this short video by Lencore! Lencore Sound Masking



Sound Absorption

Sound absorption refers to wave lengths being soaked up by soft surfaces. Sound absorption absorbs unwanted noise within a room. Essentially, it converts the sound wave energy into a small amount of heat that reduces the amount of sound throughout the room. There are many different sound absorption products including acoustic panels, tiles, clouds, and ceiling baffles. Check out this short video about Snowsound’s incredible sound absorbing technology! Snowsound Acoustic Panel Demo

photo source: Snowsound

photo source: Snowsound

Choosing the right sound solution for your space will depend on whether you are looking to mask sound or absorb sound. It is possible to use both sound masking and sound absorption in a space. For example, sound masking or ‘white noise’ can be used in an open office plan to muffle colleague conversations and sound absorption solutions can be used in conference rooms to absorb meeting discussions. You will find that most modern offices use a combination of these solutions to reach an acoustically pleasing office setting.


Interested in hearing more about our sound solutions? Contact us for a quote and let us help you quiet your noisy office!



Sources:

https://www.teacherboards.co.uk/community/the-sound-of-success-how-acoustics-play-role-in-modern-office-designs/

https://www.acousticbulletin.com/how-architects-explain-acoustics

https://www.audimute.com/blog/sound-absorption-vs-soundproofing

https://speechprivacysystems.com/how-sound-masking-works/

https://www.snowsoundusa.com/why-snowsound/

Living Green Walls Bring Nature Inside the Workplace

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

The concept of bringing nature inside is circling back around as an important piece of workplace design. As cities grow larger and the push for healthier environments continues, elements of nature are being brought back into our workspaces and communities.

One example of this is the living green wall. Also known as vertical gardens or eco walls, these vertical panels of plants help restore the natural balance while also making a powerful design statement.

Plants are naturally beneficial by helping improve air quality, increasing positivity, and helping you feel more relaxed. Green walls also help reduce noise and provide benefits connected to biophilic design: the concept that people feel better when they have access to nature.

Research has shown that air quality and lighting at work can have significant effects on brain function and productivity. According to Ambius, a premier creator of ambiance for businesses, green walls incorporated into a biophilic design plan can help improve creativity, reduce absenteeism and presenteeism, and other workplace concerns. Just being close to plants can have a positive impact on an individual’s wellbeing. Simply seeing nature in the work environment can increase job satisfaction.

The installation of a structure like a green wall also sends a message to employees that they are employed at a company that is concerned with providing them with an enjoyable work environment. They can even earn buildings LEED points and WELL credits.

photo source: Kimball

photo source: Kimball

Helio | by Kimball

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Greater exposure to natural light increases creativity, communication and happiness. That’s why we’ve taken a different design approach with Helio. Rather than framing it to be a focal point, we’ve created that perfect balance of visual continuity and personal comfort. Blending harmoniously with its surroundings, Helio gives people access to natural light, elevating their comfort and well-being.


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Helio provides freedom of movement with adjustable comfort that is seamlessly integrated to eliminate visual disruption. The back is constructed with durable, cross-woven nylon that provides ergonomic lumbar support while maintaining its crisp, clean lines. Refined details such as contrast seat stitching and premium casters with polished accents further elevate the sophistication offered within a light-scale design.

Details

  • The translucent white and semi-translucent black, cross-woven nylon back material allows light to pass through

  • Polished aluminum details on lower back, base, casters, and arms

  • Contoured seat and lowered back lumbar support provide long-lasting comfort

  • Standard adjustable seat height, seat depth, and a self-balancing, 4-position synchro lock

  • Adjustable arms are height-adjustable and available with side-to-side adjustable arms pads or fully adjustable arm pads

  • Static C-arm caps are available in white or black with a durable, translucent PU cap

  • Low profile controls reduce visible levers

  • Black or white headrest can be added to any model

  • The foot ring on the sit-to-stand and stool models features a simple hand-adjusted level for easy positioning

  • Contrast stitching available on configurable models




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A Look Back at Kimball 2018 Products

It was a busy year at Kimball. We introduced a variety of exciting new products for office, school, and healthcare. So many in fact, that you might have missed one or two. So here’s a quick recap.

January 2018 - Alterna
Alterna was designed to meet the changing needs of today’s work, learning and healing environments. Offering a broad spectrum of caseworks in different widths and heights, Alterna can be easily configured to suit any need — from public spaces to clinical areas, workspaces, break rooms, and more. And if your needs ever change, Alterna can easily be reconfigured.

Alterna is ADA compliant and comes in a variety of finishes and materials. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/storage/alterna/

February 2018 - Sycamore Metal
Our popular Sycamore collection has been expanded to include a metal frame. It offers medical facilities all the quality and comfort of Sycamore with the durability of metal. The Sycamore Metal collection includes single guest, tandem two-seat, tandem three-seat, bariatric, and patient seating options. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/sycamore-metal/

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March 2018 - Pep
Playful and simple in design, Pep adds a little fun to any space. Its contour shape provides comfort all day long while its durable structure ensures that it will be a part of your space for a long time to come. Available in multiple color, frame, and leg options. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/pep/

March 2018 - fiXt
With its sturdy metal trusses, fiXt brings urban design into a workspace. Available as occasional tables, worktables, bookcases, and benches, fiXt can be used to enhance the look of any space, while its variety of surface materials makes it as functional as it is stylish. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/fiXt/

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June 2018 - Joelle and Spruce Behavioral Wellness
Thoughtfully designed, Joelle and Spruce offer a solution to meet the unique and critical needs of today’s behavioral wellness facilities. Joelle’s ottomans and tables and Spruce’s single-seat lounge blend together to create safe environments that are both serene and comfortable, while still offering modern aesthetics and functional value.
https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/joelle-behavioral-wellness/
https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/spruce-behavioral-wellness/

August 2018 - Wilder
With its unique design, the Wilder collection invites visitors to sit down and relax. Its sophisticated style will make anyone who sits down almost forget that they’re in a medical facility. Available in lounge, guest and bench solutions, the Wilder Collection offers 360º cleanout design, wallsaver legs, and optional moisture barrier on seat and back. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/wilder/

September 2018 - KORE Work Cart
With complete mobility, the KORE Work Cart allows you to move your workspace wherever you need to. Featuring a rechargeable battery pack for technology integration and optional height-adjustable work table, the KORE Work Cart is ready to go to work whenever, and wherever, you are. Available with optional storage cabinet. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/KORE-Work-Cart/

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September 2018 Flip Upholstered Back
Flip has been enhanced to include an upholstered back and left-hand tablet. The same unique style with a thin profile and a seat that folds up to allow for convenient nesting and storage. Flip is available in all graded-in Kimball fabrics as well as COM on a new upholstered back. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/flip/

October 2018 - Poly Enhancements
Now available with arms and a counter-height stool, Poly brings mobility and lightness to a variety of spaces. Stackable and available in mesh or plastic with a wide variety of colors, Poly stands out in a crowd but fits right in any application. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/poly/

November 2018 - Xsede Height Adjust Enhancements and Power Beam/Panels
Enhanced for greater flexibility with enriched options, Xsede Height Adjust provides acoustic separation and privacy to support different work styles that foster creativity, well-being, and engagement. The new offerings of Xsede Power Beam and Power Panel enable complete connection by delivering power, data, and voice while creating integrated work surfaces and storage support.
https://www.kimball.com/furniture/Xsede-Height-Adjust/
https://www.kimball.com/furniture/Xsede-Power-Beam/

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December 2018 - Pep Counter-Height Stool
Pep has been expanded to include a counter-height stool. Constructed of tubular steel for increased strength, a multitude of shell colors are available to give personality and character to any work or play area. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/pep/

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December 2018 - Joya Counter-Height Stool
Now available in a counter-height stool, Joya has a 3½” seat cushion designed for increased comfort. The wallsaver leg keeps it from damaging the area while maximizing space. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/seating/joya/

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December 2018 - Footprint Pullout Storage
Footprint’s extensive portfolio now includes a pullout cabinet that has space for personal storage with expandable privacy and technology integration. https://www.kimball.com/furniture/storage/footprint-pull-out/

b + c Hosts Annual Charity Drive | Angels Foster Family Network

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b + c hosted its annual Holiday Charity Drive supporting Angels Foster Family Network last night at the b + c showroom. Angels Foster Family Network (AFFN) was founded in 1998 with a mission for providing stable placement of children ranging from ages 0 to 5. Each foster family undergoes rigorous foster parent evaluation, training, and a certification process. Foster families promote healing, growth and willing commit to the permanent care of a foster care child until otherwise decided by the county or juvenile court. Angel's families break the cycle of children bouncing around from home to home with their commitment to permanency. 

Foster families and biological parents are bombarded with support from clinical case managers, trainers, and staff at AFFN. Help is always there-even with 24/7 on-call support.

Angels Foster Family Network is deeply committed to the children in their care and the families who support them. We had the pleasure of hosting a Holiday Charity Drive to raise donations for the children of Angels Foster. While any donation is always appreciated, this year, they had a special need for certain items. The donations go straight to the foster parents who are caring for the children in order to provide them with basic necessities.



We had a very special guest, Jeff Wiemann who is the Executive Director of the Angels Foster Foster Family Network speak about the organization. Jeff has been a member since 2013 when him and his wife became a certified foster family. They have four children of their own, but wanted more and wanted to help children as well as give back to their community. Find out more about Jeff’s Story.



Every guest was encouraged to bring a donation to add to our “Holiday Donation Box”. As you can see, we are overflowing with donations and we couldn’t be happier! We are extremely grateful for everyone who came out and donated. Angel’s Foster Family Network is a very special cause near and dear to our hearts, and we are thankful for our supporters who made this charity drive a great success.



Happy Holidays!

For more information on how you can help, visit Angels' Foster Family Network


Can natural light affect productivity?

photo source: Kimball Brand 

photo source: Kimball Brand 

Believe it or not, windows play a big role in an employee's satisfaction with a work space. That's because lighting doesn't just affect how well we are able to see, it also affects our mood + behavior. 

But while it's true that natural light can result in happier workers, less absenteeism, reduced stress, + fewer illnesses, there's also a compelling economic reason to bring more light into the workplace - A greater dose of daylight can also increase employee productivity + alertness. And the best part is, it doesn't matter if the natural light is coming through windows or filtered through translucent materials, you + your employees will experience the same benefits. 

But what about the employees who aren't lucky enough to work near a window? Don't worry, you don't have to leave them sitting in the dark. Glass panels, glazed movable walls, lower panel heights, + translucent or mesh partitions/walls can improve their access to daylight, too. Plus, some of these solutions even provide the added benefit of acoustic privacy. 

 

Why does daylight matter? 

- reduces stress, increases productivity, + alertness 

- workers overwhelmingly prefer working near windows 

- natural light provides variety + stimulation during the day 

- tapping natural light resource reduces energy use 

 

 

 

1. https://www.kimball.com/