Acoustics and Your Well Being

We look into acoustics and how this science has a direct impact on our bodies, well-being and ability to perform and function.


The two main objectives when working with acoustics, particularly in workspaces, are A) the reduction of noise and B) improved clarity of sound, and speech in particular.

In a conversation with Jesper Nielsen, Design Director at Kvadrat Soft Cells, we learned that it is normally the speech clarity angle that gets too little attention. If we as a society want to create healthy environments, particularly in a region, such as the UAE, where the range of work staff encompass not only a wide age range, including introverts and the not so young, but also a sizeable quotient of non-native speakers, we need to ensure that the environment we create is one where all these people can contribute to their full potential. This is where we need to understand any unintentional barriers that we are creating in our designs.

For this talk, here are our expert panelists:

Clockwise from top left: Jesper Nielsen, Design Director, Kvadrat Soft Cells; Isabel Pintado, Regional Managing Director MEA and Shanghai, Wilson Associates; Briar Jacques, Psychologist, The Free Spirit Project ; Diane Thorsen, Design Director, Gensler

Clip 1: Acoustics is not a ‘dark art’! Let’s move it into the architect’s toolbox

Due to the non visual quotient of acoustics, it makes it difficult to assess, and therein arises the need for more qualitative discussions, rather than just chasing absorption-coefficients.

Clip 2: The effects of noise on the human body and the environment

Briar talks about the long term health effects and psychological strain induced by the constant struggle to hear properly, and with such clear health and wellness ramifications of acoustically challenging environments, how can we create a better stand and platform for acoustics in interior design. What has been done already, and what more or better can we do?

Clip 3: Indoor noise pollution in this region… is it a growing problem? 

There is a somewhat lack of education in this region on the importance of acoustics, and the need to include acoustics consultancy in the overall design budget. One in five people experience anxiety and panic over loud noises. We need to design for that market too.

Clip 4: Unclear acoustics in an office can result in losing creative and analytical thinkers from your workforce

The Open Plan office – is it a blessing or a curse when it comes to acoustics, and what are the latest developments and technologies that can help harness sound in this style of layout and design.

Clip 5: How can we create a better platform for acoustics in the local A&D industry?

Show the clients what good and bad acoustics actually feel like. Take them to spaces that serve as examples of these, and then educate them on the worthiness of acoustic consultancy and how it can improve their bottom line.

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