A quiet environment is a core human need. Nevertheless, we are usually exposed to background noise from morning to night – from the ringing of the alarm clock to the conversational hum in modern open-plan offices. In the workplace, the quality of room acoustics is cited as one of the most important factors for one's well-being. Studies have shown that the acoustics of a room impact both productivity and the general quality of togetherness and one's health.
XAL's goal is to craft spaces where people feel relaxed, safe, and productive. To this end, we have developed a product portfolio in which lighting and room acoustics interact harmoniously. Acoustic lighting creates optimal lighting conditions and a balanced acoustic environment that enhances concentration, promotes social interaction, and creates an all-round sense of well-being.
We have been experiencing a trend towards a communicative and agile working world in office design for years. In addition to optimising space, the open office landscape is expected to lead to increased professional exchange and more work-related flexibility. However, such open spaces raise acoustic challenges. Conversations require good speech intelligibility, while the rest of the team should be able to work in a focused manner.
The optimum reverberation time for open-plan offices is between 0.7 and 0.9 seconds in the frequencies relevant to speech. If the reverberation time is longer, a room is perceived as too loud. If it is shorter, speech intelligibility increases – but this is counterproductive in open offices, as it is distracting. The optimum average value is decisive for acoustic conditions that promote concentration.
In a well-balanced acoustic concept, the first step is to absorb disturbing sound to reduce reverberation. At the same time, sound screens and other vertically aligned acoustic elements prevent the propagation of speech in the room. This creates a sense of privacy without isolation.
We have created a selection of different lighting and acoustic simulations for you in a typical multi-person office with common structural conditions. Both strict grid arrangements and freely placed acoustic elements are simulated. Lighting and acoustic elements were either combined as separate products or used as a combination solution.
Good mutual understanding determines a meeting's success. At meetings and conferences, the room acoustics should enable people to speak without straining and ensure that speakers are easily understood by other participants. This is especially true for telephone and video conferences, where strong reverberation quickly creates disturbing feedback effects.
The aim is to achieve uniform sound absorption, especially in the frequency range relevant to speech. Unpleasant flutter echoes can be avoided by equipping one of two opposite walls with absorbent material. In small meeting rooms, the placement of acoustic elements close to the sound source has proven to be effective, for example, directly above the conference table. In larger lecture rooms, sound-reflecting equipment in the middle of the ceiling is recommended so that speech can be easily understood all the way to the back rows.
Depending on the size of the meeting or conference room, the optimum reverberation time is between 0.4 and 0.7 seconds. For people with impaired hearing, it should be reduced even further in inclusive spaces, to a maximum of 0.3 to 0.5 seconds.
In corporate buildings, the lobby is the first point of contact with the customer. This is why companies are increasingly focusing on modern architecture and reduction in design such as smooth, hard surfaces, large glass facades, and sparse decoration. This creates visual elegance but favours the propagation of sound. As meeting areas, they are the backdrop for informal but important communication, especially where people remain for extended periods. If sound levels here are high, this disturbs the people present on site and also those in adjacent rooms. In addition, there should be a certain confidentiality in the reception area.
Therefore, the room acoustics in corridors and stairwells deserve special attention. Freely arrangeable acoustic elements are ideal here, as they can be placed exactly where they are needed while setting interior design accents. Additional measures are necessary to ensure that the reception staff also work under the best acoustic conditions. Individual acoustic solutions around the counter create an acoustically pleasant atmosphere and also mark it as a delimited zone, thus facilitating spatial orientation. Where special privacy requirements apply, such as at bank counters, sound screens in the form of desk panels and partitions act as additional absorbers.
Communication has become indispensable in the new world of work. Informal exchange, networking and collaboration are an important complement to the concept of "new work". Canteens and We Spaces offer a spatial break and time-out from the stimulating and dynamic environment of the Open Space.
In the breakout areas, the aim is to create a confidential working environment and sufficient privacy for meetings or simply social interaction. Acoustic solutions ought to support the idea of an open innovation space, inviting brainstorming and informal exchange. Upholstered seating landscapes are ideally complemented by suspended acoustic elements that both enhance acoustic performance and convey the feeling of a protected space.
Cafeterias naturally have a high noise level. To create a pleasant conversational atmosphere, the reverberation in canteens must be significantly reduced. Distributing absorbing acoustic elements evenly on the ceiling as well as on the walls of the canteen supports a balanced acoustic environment. This also avoids stress caused by noise. People return to work refreshed and regenerated after their lunch break.
Whether in a new construction or acoustic retrofitting: Our room acoustics experts help you optimise the acoustics. To achieve this, we work with different methods: from simple calculations via 3D simulations with realistic sound wave propagation to exact on-site sound measurements. Our focus is on a user-friendly and noticeably pleasant acoustic atmosphere in every room. We are happy to advise you – just get in touch.
Acoustic measures have a strong spatial presence. We are your partner for bespoke lighting and acoustic solutions, adapted to your project's architectural and aesthetic requirements. Whether it's minor dimensional or colour adjustments, or completely new developments, we support you from the planning stage through to implementation.
With this comprehensive brochure, we would like to provide you with the best possible information for optimal room acoustics. You will find concrete application examples for different areas such as meeting rooms, general offices, corridors, lobbies or canteens. Information on customised solutions, product recommendations and planning examples make the brochure an indispensable tool for your acoustic project.