Simple and effective sound solution - Lifestyle NZ
Simple and effective sound solution

Simple and effective sound solution

Creating a designer sound solution for commercial and hospitality venues has never been easier, thanks to some innovative products.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Simplicity is the key to the acoustic ceiling and wall finishes from Autex Acoustics. The company’s Frontier system is sleek and elegant in appearance, lightweight, quick and easy to install. The high-performance acoustic baffles are available in two variations – Fins and Raft, have 60 percent recycled PET content, and come with a carbon neutral offering.

National sales manager Marcel Herbke says this range evolved from designers’ requirements for customisable fins. “The product has taken on a life of its own and we are seeing it being used on ceilings and walls, cut into a vast array of shapes and in different colours and finishes. It’s in the hands of the designers to show what else they can come up with.”

The Frontier system, designed and made in New Zealand, absorbs reverberation and echo. With polished concrete, glazing and other hard surfaces being used in many modern interior designs, Frontier has proven to be an ideal acoustic medium for absorbing the excess sound energy that bounces off these surfaces.

“The system also works well for architects wanting to retain a more open feeling in a space, because both Fins and Raft are suspended from above without completely enclosing the ceiling. They absorb the sound energy and create a space that’s more pleasant to be in,” says Marcel.

"While Frontier has the very clear function of improving the acoustics, we are increasingly finding that architects and designers recognise the beauty of the system and are specifying it as much for its aesthetic qualities.”

Available in two variations—Fins and Raft—the Frontier system features an adjustable channel and clip system giving you complete control over the height, spacing and placement of each individual component.

Autex Acoustics: the sound of (almost) silence

New Plymouth Airport is an excellent example of this, says Marcel. Beca Architects needed to meet the prescribed reverberation time so they created a custom Frontier ceiling that was both functional and also sculptural and engaging. They literally used Frontier as a medium through which elements of the design story could be told. And the result looks amazing.

Frontier has also proved to be popular in bars and restaurants, where it is particularly good at absorbing a range of frequencies.

“Often, restaurateurs want to keep the lively atmosphere, so might initially be uncertain about acoustic treatment. But they soon change their minds when they realise that with balanced acoustic treatment, they can keep the buzz, but lose the less pleasant sounds like seats being dragged across concrete floors, dropped plates and cutlery crashing together. You can create a really great space – where it’s possible to not only have great conversations, but also hear the energy and activity in the space. It really is possible!”

For architects, design flexibility is a significant advantage. The 12mm and 24mm fins are available in 23 standard colours, custom colours and prints, as well as in a variety of standard designs, including wave shapes and wedges. Additionally, Frontier Fins and Raft can be easily cut into almost any shape required, so there is scope to play with shapes and customise it to virtually any design.

“We have been really impressed to see how designers have taken Frontier and produced different configurations and shapes. It is a great product for giving real design freedom."

For the Greater Wellington Regional Council offices, Athfield Architects specified Frontier acoustic baffles and teamed them with printed acoustic panels.

Autex Acoustics: turning interiors into the great indoors

Raft, a three-dimensional hollow baffle, evolved through discussions between architects and Autex, says Marcel.

“Designers were telling us they also wanted a three-dimensional version of Frontier, which led us to design Raft—which is basically a lightweight, folded up, hollow beam. It looks great, and it’s great acoustically.”

Like Fins, Raft is available in all the same colours and finishes.

To ensure an interior space get the right amount of baffles to achieve a beautiful acoustical outcome, Autex Acoustics can do reverberation calculations for designers. "We want to see the best balance of materials being fitted to achieve both the aesthetic the designer wants and the level of acoustic absorption the project needs.”

From a system perspective, Frontier's lightweight nature makes it easy to work with, assemble and disassemble if needed for maintenance purposes or to access HVAC and other systems in the space above. Installers aren't exposed to raw fibres or dust and there's no need to wear masks or gloves when handling it. If necessary, it can safely be cut to fit on site. The parts all clip together into channels, making it quick and easy to install.

Find out more about incorporating Frontier products into your next commercial or retail project.

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