West Midlands Railway has recently moved into a new and improved office in the centre of Birmingham, which covers several floors and is the main base for a large number of employees. Working with Paragon plc, who were the main interior fit out contractor, Husht were called in to add some of the finishing touches to the space, as well as tackling some acoustic challenges.
The large, open plan office space covered two floors, and needed to be partitioned in places to not only give the office workers some degree of privacy, but also prevent sound from propagating throughout. With potentially dozens of people working in one room, measures needed to be taken to make sure that everyone is able to work in comfort, and that communication isn’t hampered.
In order to create a sound partition without breaking up the space too harshly with solid barriers, we installed Autex hanging acoustic screens. These lightweight and semi-rigid screens help to absorb sound, cutting down on reverberation and overall decibel levels, but they are an unobtrusive install, and still allow the space to feel open. These Autex screens are available in countless designs and colours, but for this project we chose an attractive cutout tree design in a neutral grey to complement the rest of the office design.
A significant reduction in reverberation has been achieved, and the screens have been very effective in compartmentalising sound. The reception desk for example is part of the open plan office, but the Autex screens mean that visitors and welcome staff can clearly hear one another without excessive intrusion of sound from the rest of the office. Similarly, those working at their desks are not distracted by the sounds of people entering and exiting the office. In addition, the overall look of the office has been improved, with the screens serving as focal points.