Keeping the peace with acoustic curtains

by Darren
ADtextiles jnl6

Textiles dim light, sound and even absorb noise, but as one reviewer of this unique development commented – why has no one thought of this before? Translucent, lightweight sound-absorbing curtains, for subduing the sounds of traffic and street noise.
The Swiss-based textile designer Annette Douglas developed her Silent Space collection after she found herself longing for silence. “Noise is annoying. It interrupts communication, reduces productivity and tires people out.”

Her solution? Lightweight sound-absorbing curtains that muffle the din of urban life.

The design is elegant, the materials are simple, timeless and blend into the room – whether it’s a meeting room, office space, hotel or living room, the curtains can be used everywhere that acoustically effective and transparent materials are required.

 Douglas carried out this research in collaboration with Weisbrod and the Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) in her capacity as the initiator, project leader and commercial partner. It resulted in the creation of sound-absorbing fabric which is transparent and more lightweight than conventional acoustic fabrics.  

This project did not revolve around the design. The key factors in it were of a more technical nature: the construction,  material,  industrial process and knowledge of the market – know-how which  Douglas was successfully able to contribute to this project.

The master-class course by Hella Jongerius of  the Textile Lab Tillburg in autumn 2008 proved to be especially inspiring.  Douglas was one of the few European designers invited to take part. The theme was Fabrics which transform, and she was awarded a prize at this event.

Douglas studied how paper bends and the implementation of this in textiles. The aim was to develop a fabric which could be twisted in an industrial process.

This gave rise to a pop-up textile which can be twisted in the direction of the warp and weft through heat-setting.

These sound-absorbing curtains shorten the reverberation, reduce the noise,  improve speech intelligibility and swallow five times more sound than traditional curtains.

The transparent acoustic fabrics have, despite their lightness, a sound absorption between 0,5  and 0,6.  They are ideal as a complementary measure to improve the acoustic performance at acoustically unsatisfactory premises.

All the curtains in the collection are difficult to ignite enough and meet the demanding European standards for public buildings (B1 according to DIN 4102).

Further information is available on the website www.douglas-textiles.ch 

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