“All the textiles in a room affect its soundscape.
With that in mind, it might be worth having an acoustic dress code.”
Pernilla McGillivray’s statement is meant jokingly but there is some truth behind it too. In principle, all textiles have sound-absorbing properties, even the clothes we wear. As a textile designer for Svensson, Pernilla spends every day working to develop different ways of impacting soundscapes using textiles.
- Sounds bounce off smooth surfaces, making them echo, creating an unpleasant soundscape. The advantage of textiles is that they absorb sound. It’s common place for workplaces to erect sound-absorbing panels to combat the challenges of noise. While acoustic panels are functional, they are not always necessarily that pretty. Textiles offer choice and are nicer to look at. Think about how much you have to choose from when it comes to rugs, curtains or upholstered furniture, for example.
At Svensson, we have a wide range of noise-rated textiles. In basic terms, the noise rating is about the level of sound absorption that can be achieved, but how the textile is placed and positioned in the room also has an impact.
- The most important factors of all for sound absorption are weave construction, yarn and weight. But as a designer, I think it’s also important to think about aesthetics. We want our environments to be places people feel good in.
- At Svensson, we have an incredibly simple digital tool that you can use to measure how much material you will need in a room to achieve optimum sound absorption, says Pernilla.
Martin Ljungdahl Eriksson used to work as a sound engineer and sound designer but grew tired of this and began researching instead. Today, he is a researcher in informatics where he focuses on soundscapes and how we interpret and understand sound.
- I usually talk about how we need to have a holistic view of sound. We interpret our surroundings using all our senses which interact and influence one another. For example, we know that different tones affect our taste in different ways. Low tones make things taste slightly bitter, while light tones can make things taste sweeter. Sound has a powerful subconscious impact on us and we need to focus more on integrating all our senses in order to create a good, comfortable environment, says Martin.
Benefits of acoustic textiles
The benefits of acoustic textiles, tips on how to use them, and reasons why good sound conditions are important.
How does sound move about a room?
In a room with a good sound environment, people’s brains don’t need to waste energy processing irritating sounds that have no informational value.