The Problem Resonics recently completed a project for Crown Packaging in Oxfordshire where the brief was to improve the acoustics in a large and noisy open plan office. An acoustic survey undertaken by one of Resonics’ acoustic consultants found the reverberation time to be 1.81s in the space, resulting in a harsh acoustic environment and creating problems of poor speech intelligibility and concentration. An extremely common problem in open plan work environments, lots of people talking, using phones, walking and using photocopiers make for an extremely loud and disruptive working environment. The Crown open plan office houses over 20 employees at any one time making it very busy and, at times, very noisy. Above: Proposal drawings and example projects. The Proposal Following the acoustics survey, Resonics then proposed an acoustic solution using custom cut Ecophon Solo panels across the entire ceiling in the space which would reduce the reverberation time to a comfortable 0.61s. With the majority of wall space taken up by windows and filing cabinets, a ceiling panel solution was the most viable and effective solution. As the ceiling is made up of exposed concrete ceiling soffits, custom sizing each individual panel was required to fit each panel within the ceiling cavities. To optimise the solution, Resonics also proposed to utilise the two end walls by building a fabric wall solution. This would further improve the acoustics of the room by ensuring that sound could be absorbed from the sides as well as above, reducing the problem of sound bouncing and reverberating around the large space. Installation Our experienced and skilled fitters work extremely effectively when it comes to installing custom sized panels. Cut on site, custom panels are ideal for office spaces where the panel needs to fit within awkward or smaller spaces. They also fit to exact measurements meaning there is no waste and acoustic absorption is optimised. The final fit-out of the large space took 7 days. This included fitting 240 Ecophon Solo ceiling panels to fit within the concrete soffits and site-building fabric wall solutions at each end of the office. The ceiling panels were installed in frost white with an Akutex surface finish. Each panel was suspended to be able to absorb sound on all side affording 90% (Class A) sound absorption. The fabric wall panels were built with a 25mm acoustic core and covered in Camira fabric in a shade to teal to complement the existing colour scheme of the walls. Above: The final result with panels fitted in ceiling soffits and on the end of the office wall. The Result The final result was an acoustic solution that made the large open space look and sound better. Preliminary feedback was very positive with the facilities manager quoting “good feedback from the users” and a definite improvement in the room acoustics. In fact, so successful was the original fit-out that Resonics were asked to return to provide further acoustic proposals for their office and corridor spaces.