The Challenge:

Wacom, a high tech manufacturer of interactive pen displays, tablets, and styluses, recently moved its North American headquarters from Vancouver, WA, to a new space in Portland, OR. Company management desired an interior design that was far different from traditional office space that would entice prospective new employees to join the company.

To impart the industrial Northwest “feel” it desired, company ma nagement wanted a completely exposed concrete ceiling. However, because of all the hard surfaces in the space and the completely open work areas, the SRM design team of Michael Stueve, Olivia Kohler, and Stacie Fischer knew some kind of acoustical treatment needed to be added.

The Solution:

To preserve the look of an exposed ceiling while providing acoustical control, the team chose SOUNDSCAPES Blades linear panels from Armstrong Ceiling Solutions. Available in twenty sizes and shapes and fourteen standard colors, the vertical panels offer a linear visual along with excellent sound absorption. “They proved to be the happy medium between a fully exposed ceiling and the acoustical performance we were looking for,” states design team member Fischer. At Wacom, nearly 300 Blades panels measuring 10" wide x 94" long x 2" thick in White were installed throughout the three floors of the new Wacom space.

Fischer notes the Wacom open floor plan lent itself well to the use of Blades linear panels. “The Blades layout appears to be randomly patterned, but the panels are actually clustered over workstation areas for better speech intelligibility.” She also notes that Blades were installed in the private offices. “This is rather unusual, but we wanted to provide a level of speech privacy that these types of spaces require,” she adds.

Acoustically, Blades panels significantly reduce noise because sound is absorbed on the front, back, and sides, providing 64% more sound absorption than the same square footage of an NRC 0.90 continuous ceiling.

Fischer reports she would use SoundScapes Blades again. “They are definitely one of the best solutions for retaining the open structure look while providing acoustical control,” she states.

Project: Wacom

Location: Portland, OR

Architect: SRM Architecture

Products: SOUNDSCAPES Blades