Workplace, with existing absorption class A ceiling

Free-hanging units provide a new dimension to acoustic solutions in workplaces. As a complement to a wall-to-wall absorption class A acoustic ceiling solution, free-hanging absorbers improve privacy between workstations located close to each other. While optimising the acoustic environment, the free-hanging units also play an important role as a design element or a focal point in the room – such as above a meeting area in an open plan office.
In open offices it is particularly important to prevent sound propagation over distance. A high performance acoustic ceiling with absorption Class A minimises sound propagation and reduces background noise level in an open office environment, so that employees do not disturb one another across larger distances.
In many cases, it is also necessary to reduce sound propagation over shorter distances. Because an open office environment often contains workstations positioned close together, there is a clear risk that people can disturb one another - primarily by speech. In this case, control for each employee is possible by the installation of free-hanging absorbing units above the workstations.
New acoustic ceilings were installed during the recent refurbishment of the Danish IT-company  ”Organisator”. The sound environment was definitely improved but some of the employees still complained about being disturbed by sound from nearby colleagues. Ecophon Edge free-hanging units were installed above the workstations and the changes were evident:
“Before the changes, sounds coming from neighbouring workstations were very disturbing. The new absorbers have minimised these sounds to an acceptable level and it is now much easier to concentrate. And we like the new look as well.”
Mette Wettel,  Organisator (an IBM company)
The effect of free-hanging absorbers in open offices has been tested at the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute.
The main conclusion of the test was that:
“...the configurations with the free-hanging units showed that it was possible to reduce sound propagation to such an extent that the Articulation Class close to the sound source was dramatically improved. In field conditions, where some background noise is always present, this means that the risk of disturbance for tasks that do not require a high level of concentration can be contained. Free-hanging units can be a valuable complement to a complete acoustic ceiling in an open plan office, and thereby contribute to optimising the sound environment for the employees.”  Read the entire report
Learn more about this topic from a presentation given at Internoise in South Korea, 2003.

Free-hanging units references

© Michael Perlmutter

Here we present a couple of references for free-hanging units

A new free-hanging unit has seen the light

© Michael Perlmutter

Ecophon Master Solo S is a horizontal element with painted edges and no profiles witch gives it a very clean and minimalistic appearance.

Acoustical islands

The use of free-hanging units provides flexibility and a multitude of acoustical solutions to problems related to acoustical design.