Orchestrating the soundscape in activity-based offices
Activity-based offices with open landscapes provide the environment for more agile working styles to flourish. Moving away from assigned desking and allowing workers the freedom to choose the space that best fits their task or activity is an approach which complements the hybrid working model.
By designing the office environment with appropriately equipped spaces to cater for the activity, whether that be team collaboration, informal interaction, ad hoc meetings, focused work or private calls, workers are empowered to manage their workday to maximise productivity. This approach is proving successful in enticing workers back to the office where they can enjoy a sense of community amongst their colleagues whilst benefiting from the tools available to them.
With video, comes audio.
For certain, whatever the type of activity, video-enablement is essential. Every meeting or gathering, from huddle space to town hall auditoria, there will almost always be remote participation. Hand in hand with video-enablement is the audio experience, which, in an open plan office environment, can present acoustic challenges.
Modern open plan office environments with minimalist interiors often favouring expanses of glass present significant challenges in terms of noise levels. Sound waves bounce against hard surfaces such as windows, walls, ceilings, and floors, reverberating and creating echo. By incorporating sound absorbing materials and design elements, noise levels can be managed and controlled to suit different activity zones.
Acceptable noise levels can vary depending on the tasks and work being undertaken with the aim to minimise noise disturbance between workstations and enhance the quality of proximity conversations.
Creating favourable soundscapes.
Recognising the acoustic challenges of open plan office designs, Sharp/NEC has partnered with soundscape specialist Abstracta to provide outstanding audio-visual experiences.
“At Abstracta, we work with organisations to address the acoustic implications of open plan office designs to achieve the ideal environment for creative productivity. We manufacture sustainable solutions such as the Agile mobile project screen, and the Zen Pod® quiet room to create favourable soundscapes. Our partnership with Sharp NEC Display Solutions means we can now integrate industry-leading display technology into our furniture for interactive collaboration.”
Anders Säterö Jansson, Global Sales Manager at Abstracta.
Abstracta Agile mobile project screen.
A project workspace on wheels, the Agile is a multi-tool that supports activity-based working scenarios. Designed by Studio Stockholm, an award-winning architecture firm, the mobile media screen is made for work environments that demand excellent functionality, aesthetics, and acoustics.
“The office of the future is a place where people will want to be. So, creating an attractive workspace that builds a sense of community and raises job satisfaction is a crucial part of competing for talent. Our aim with the product was to help improve creative work environments and cultures,” says Anders Johnson of Studio Stockholm, who designed Abstracta Agile together with colleagues Martin Eckerberg Ollas and Marco Checchi.
Mounted on wheels, one side of the project board features a full-length magnetic whiteboard. A fold-out laptop shelf features an integrated cable (USB-C) for screen sharing and device charging. An acoustic panel provides the appropriate sound absorption to optimise the local auditory experience.
Integrated into the top half of one side is an NEC 55-inch MultiSync® M551 Large format Display which, paired with a Bose VideobarTM, provides a high-quality video conferencing system.
Abstracta Zen Pod® quiet room
An acoustic oasis, the Abstracta Zen Pod provides a quiet retreat for private phone calls, focused work and one to one or small group collaboration. In three sizes, small, medium and large, the Zen Pod provides the appropriate space equipped to support the relevant activity.
The Japan-inspired Zen Pod makes it easy to create an oasis of tranquillity in the workplace. It’s a solution that enhances the aesthetic experience, improves privacy, and also positively impacts the soundscape outside of the room, dampening sound by 31dB.
“Zen Pod allows you to sense the surrounding environment without being disturbed by it. The room is quiet; not isolating,” says designer Staffan Holm.
Zen Pod is a smart room equipped with plenty of functionality, yet nothing superfluous. Power sockets (230V), ventilation, shallow angle lighting, and controls are all included. Optimising the space for video conferencing, the Zen Pod can be optionally equipped with a 55-inch MultiSync® M551 Large Format Display, and Bose Videobar, proven to deliver the best possible audio-visual experience.
Securing sustainable soundscapes.
When you’re in the business for human well-being, you cannot ignore the well-being of future generations. This is why Abstracta only uses long lasting materials. All of Abstracta’s products are module-based to be easy to repair, easy to reuse, and easy to recycle. The sound absorbing acoustic filling is made using recycled materials such as textile waste and polyester made from PET plastic bottles.
“Our partnership with Abstracta means we can give our customers peace of mind as they plan their office landscapes, specified to best support their hybrid workforce. Designed and manufactured in Sweden using sustainable materials, Abstracta’s office solutions perfectly complement our reliable, long-life technology meaning our customers can fitout their offices with certainty.”
Gunnar Kyvik, General Manager Display Solutions Nordics
Abstracta uses natural cork which is 100% renewable.
Watch the video to see some of Abstracta’s innovative sound absorbing solutions, integrating Sharp/NEC display technology to provide an outstanding audio-visual experience.