Improving Office Acoustics with Custom Partitions

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The corporate headquarter relocation of Hillrom, a medical technology company, in Chicago, IL, presented an opportunity to dress an empowering brand with innovative style in a healthy way.  The space chosen contained open ceilings, concrete floors and expansive walls. Having a large expanse of hard surfaces like this requires solutions for acoustical dampening. After having had previous successes with projects utilizing Fabric Images’ acoustical felt, the architect on the project, CannonDesign, contacted the Fabric Images team for assistance. 

When first approached, Fabric Images was asked to review the acoustical baffles that were placed throughout the open hallways.  However, upon reviewing the design deck, the FI team saw an opportunity for additional sound dampening through a design feature that was called out as “millwork”. This millwork feature contained a series of 23 custom-designed fins which were supported directly to the floor and acted as a divider between work zones. 

After reviewing with the architect design team, the FI team began prototyping to develop the design detail, which included using acoustical felt with a 2” finished thickness and 6ft height. A proprietary technique was utilized which allowed the 3/8” thick acoustical felt to take on dimensional form.

Once the acoustical detail was worked out, the metal details were worked in. This included two horizontal metal bars which interconnected the fins. The piercing detail was cleanly integrated, and the metal was treated with a soft white power coated finish. An additional detail included the metal floor plate. This spanned the length of the feature and attached directly to the floor, aligned to the edge of the carpet. This entire solution was engineered, manufactured and finished by Fabric Images, all under one roof.

In addition to the fins, FI also supplied more than 130 hanging baffles. The baffles were positioned within the lobby and hallways, where concrete flooring was located.

The addition of acoustical features offered these benefits:

  • Increased surface area for acoustical absorption, meaning a decrease in reverberation and echo within the space.
  • The acoustical felt contains a blend of recycled fibers, which speaks to the brands environmental beliefs.
  • The addition of acoustically absorbing features within the space created a sound environment, which is linked to increased well-being. 
  • Consistency in material finishes. Using the acoustical felt for the fins, eliminated introducing another material finish into the space.

What better way to promote a brand centered around health than by introducing an acoustically sound space. By leveraging years of experience and expertise, the FI team was able to review the entire vision of the space and identify and develop a solution that would enhance the over-all acoustical performance. The result is a visually striking architectural feature that enhances well-being.

Learn more about Fabric Images custom manufacturing capabilities here.

Fabric Images

Fabric Images, Inc. is a premier manufacturer of printed and non-printed tension fabric architecture and material solutions. Our focus is on integrating structural frame and textiles into environments to enrich brand quality and the expressive identity of a space.

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