Acoustic design - Structural NZ
Acoustic design

Acoustic design

Doubling as a mirror, or appearing as the sky outside; functioning as a light source or as part of a sterile area, the ability to create stunning, acoustic-rated ceilings is now only limited by the imagination of the architect or designer.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

For many projects, both residential and commercial, ceilings don’t play a large part in the overall design. They are generally not a feature the eye is drawn to and are commonly designed to blend in with, or accentuate, the other design elements of a space – in many modern buildings built with cost efficiency in mind, anyway.

On the other hand, some of the world’s most famous buildings utilise ceilings as features; a consistent feature of buildings of note, both religious and civic, ornate and feature ceilings sweep across centuries and different architectural eras.

It is often in these sorts of large public spaces though, where acoustics are key to the design. In New Zealand, options have been relatively limited in regards to creating feature ceilings that also provide high levels of acoustic performance. That changed last year with the introduction of Barrisol stretch ceilings, which are a lightweight plastic PVC membrane.

The ceilings are cut to size then heated and stretched into a system of rails – effectively allowing for complete creative freedom. “Because of the level of manipulation that you can achieve with Barrisol stretch ceilings, there are countless possibilities for design,” Stretchmaster Ceilings’ Chris Ramsey says.

Currently, Barrisol ceilings are one of only a handful of stretch ceiling or wall covering systems available in New Zealand that can be backlit and at the same time offer acoustic properties allowing designers the freedom to utilise any of the Barrisol products from mirrored ceilings to performance.

“The acoustic range absorbs spurious sounds and reduces noise pollution,” Ramsey says. “The Barrisol acoustic range works by controlling the reflection of sound waves within the room. A high level of precision in aural control can be achieved with four different noise absorption rates,  which are adjusted by the number of perforations made in the stretch ceiling, allowing designers to cater to differing aural situations.”

Stretch ceilings achieve acoustic performance by utilising a unique sound absorbing medium that relies on the concept of micro-perforation. “The micro-perforation converts sound energy into thermal energy. The friction of the air in each hole is increased by resonance in the air between the micro-perforated panel and the backing.”

Because Barrisol ceilings offer a huge diversity in look and finish, with incredibly realistic ranges that mimic other products, the ability to create finishes that would otherwise be unobtainable due to their acoustic failings, is no longer an issue.

Barrisol Acoustic stretched ceilings

The Barrisol concrete range has seen a huge increase in its popularity since its release in New Zealand last year, perhaps because of the increasing desire for raw, natural finishes, particularly in commercial spaces. “Concrete is often seen as one of the worst products in terms of acoustic performance, but with the Barrisol concrete range you can create an incredibly realistic concrete finish, along with superior acoustic performance,” Ramsey says.

The mirrored acoustic range of stretch ceilings is perhaps one of the most visually stunning options available, and is another range that has seen a surge in popularity. “With an amazing level of reflective capabilities, this sheeting marries the reflective capabilities of a fine Swarovski mirror,” Chris says. “The quality of reflection is so high that from the correct viewing angle, there is an almost holographic effect, making it perfect for car showrooms, museums, displays and showcases.”

All Barrisol stretch ceilings can incorporate different levels of acoustic performance, including three-dimensional customizable printed ceilings, translucent options, and the Clean Room range, which is used for sterile areas such as hospitals or operating theatres.

Stretchmaster first introduced Barrisol stretch ceilings to the New Zealand market close to two years ago and have seen a surge in their popularity over the last year as an acoustic and fire-rated ceiling solution.

If you’re interested in a cost-effective way to achieve acoustic performance as well as a bespoke design for a ceiling, whether it be in a large public space, a hospital room, or a retail offering, get in touch with Stretchmaster to find out what you can achieve with a stretched ceiling. Visit Stretchmaster on ArchiPro here.

Barrisol Mirror
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