UAE: There’s a saying that “empty vessels make the most noise.” Although referencing boisterous know-it-alls, the adage also holds true in the advanced world of acoustics. As spaces have increasing demands to serve multiple functions, the noise level often grows proportionately.
Since 2007, Finnish company Soften Oy has designed and manufactured interior acoustic panels and dividers. Speaking with Soften’s export manager, Nina Koivisto, she noted Soften differentiates itself in the market in three areas including ease of installation, design and acoustic classification.
Installation of Soften’s Wallpanels line requires no tools. The 55cm square wall panels are swiftly and firmly secured to the wall with 3m Velcro tape.
In tandem with easy installation is their quick removal, which makes colour, pattern or orientation changes possible in seconds. Koivisto highlighted that Soften originally targeted the residential market in Finland. Finns have stone houses and favor minimalist interiors, making echo a problem, she added.
Its residential roots informed Soften’s design aesthetic. Focusing on shape and 3D movement, they improved on the staid flat square that is typical of many commercial acoustic panels. Sinuous waves, raised lines, blocky puzzle pieces and Pastille’s convex and concave spherical forms represent a few of their interesting patterns. Recently, Soften worked on abstracted mashribya designs with a local architect to develop the bas-relief pattern Petals.
Soften Air uses the same acoustic panels to create tailor-made room dividers, ceiling installations or floating acoustic construction. Akin to the Wallpanels line, any combination of colours or panel type is possible and is easily interchangeable. Luckily, all the structural and anchoring components are included.
Made of 100% recycled PET felt, both Soften Air and Wallpanels deliver even more to the environment. They are also pinable. Standard colour choices are neutral off-white, light grey, dark grey and black.
However, an ample 95 colour options are available in wool fabric by European furniture textile leader Gabriel. With no minimum orders, any colour quantity or combination is feasible, as are custom panels featuring company logos in patterned relief.
All Soften acoustic panels have been tested and meet absorption Class A classification (EN ISO 11654) when specified with acoustic filling, while Class C is achieved without the filling. Materials are additionally allergy friendly and recyclable.
Already softening acoustic blows in the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange building, and more recently in Dubai’s General Electric office, Soften is locally represented by Marsaana Communications.