Sound - The noisy truth

"Not all textiles have equal sound absorption qualities"

Textiles play a major role in the absorption of sound within everyday spaces such as your home, the office, hotels and conference centres.  With the movement toward minimalist spaces and the noises generated within them, the management of sound has become of utmost importance particularly in the design of public spaces.

The popular use of textiles not only adds to the visual appeal of a space, they also provide an excellent medium for absorbing sound helping to increase speech intelligibility and setting the ambience of the interior.   Hard surfaces enable sound to bounce and reverberate around spaces, whereas textiles, including drapery and upholstery items not only deliver a design aesthetic but also contributes to the absorption of sound.  The reduction of sound reverberation creates more holistic spaces where conversations can be heard and background noise is minimised.

However not all textiles have equal sound absorption qualities – the level of sound absorption is dependent upon the textiles weight, composition, and/or construction.  Generally, due to mass, drapery provides the main textile source of sound absorption and we find:

  • The more drapery folds, the more sound absorption
  • Hanging a curtain a small distance off the wall increases sound absorption
  • Softening opposing walls reduces sound waves from travelling wall to wall

Sound Absorption Measurement

Our FR-One textiles are laboratory tested for sound absorption in accordance with EN ISO 354.  They are provided with an official Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of between 0 and 1.  

At the 0 end of the spectrum all noise is reverberated and it is considered a hard surface not absorbing any sound.  At the other end of the spectrum, 1, the textile absorbs all sound.

These results are commonly converted to a sound absorption class as per ISO 11654, from A to E, with A being the highest absorption class rating.  However a class of A, B, or C are highly absorbing textiles that will effectively assist in reducing sound reverberation in a space.

Listed below are designs from our recent FR-One releases that have sound absorbing qualities:

Design Name - ISO11654 category draped
Golf - A
Jaba - D
Jadeite - C
Jadore - B
Jaime - C
Jeopardy - D
Jubilea - C
Jubilea - D
Jubilea - B
Jubilea -D
Lazarus - C
Lexicon - C
Liberate - B
Liro - C
Loci dim out - C
Lucence - D
Ludo - B
Lure dim out - C
Lust - D
Velluti - B

For more information on our textiles and sound absorption please contact your account representative or nearest showroom.

Colour and pattern is all around us, creating the mood and ambience of a space. The opportunity to play with colour and pattern is huge ultimately transforming a room, producing multi-faceted interiors that are alive and inviting.