When acoustics meet ecology and design, it results in cutting-edge products that also give hope for a better world. This is the case with noise-reducing soundsticks by designer Andrea Ruggiero. In 2017, the latter was invited by the Swedish company Offecct to work in his laboratory. The goal ? Building an alternative to traditional acoustic panels made from recycled materials. To bring together two worlds that everything opposes in the collective imagination. Beauty and recycling, even in the circular economy. The result is beautiful “tubes” available in a variety of attractive colors.
Tubes that are stacked side by side to create sound insulation from scratch. But which can also be used as space dividers or decorative objects. Which can even be suspended. Zoom in on this big step that is at the same time ecological, ergonomic and conceptual.
Ergonomic furniture created from scratch
The Soundstick is inspired by cardboard mailing tubes. Andrea Ruggiero’s creating process was long and comprehensive. The original idea was to recycle real cardboard tubes. However, after testing initial prototypes, it became clear that they were too heavy and offered minimal sound absorption. Tubes were also not available in sufficient quantity to ensure stable production.
“The first prototypes were made using the leftover cardboard tubes with rolls of upholstery fabric supplied. The issue of availability is a key factor when designing a high volume recycled product, ”says Ruggiero. The idea of shape was retained, we just had to find another material. “We eliminated the cardboard tube and explored a number of other solutions and materials before deciding to use acoustic felt,” says the designer. The end result: acoustic sound absorbing felt molded in the form of a tube held by a fabric cover.
A product 100% in the circular economy
The Soundsticks are therefore made 100% from recycled materials. To ensure the supply of materials, Ruggiero created a circuit between his fabrication shop and the rest of the Offecct factory. The main component is acoustic felt, which is made from a mixture of shredded textile scraps and water bottles. The ability of space dividers to reduce ambient noise has been certified by the independent Swedish acoustic authority Akustikverkstan.
End caps are made from recycled aluminum derived from cans. Since no glue is required for assembly, the Soundstick can be salvaged, fully integrating it into the circular economy. Fabric covers are made from leftover upholstery fabrics. A palette of four colors is available: red, green, blue and gray
Sound absorption and space divider
Soundsticks absorb noise but also act as space dividers. Each box includes eight sticks. It’s up to you to combine several Soundsticks together to create the shape you want. Aluminum rails are available in case you want to hang them. This will be done by a discreet aluminum wire and will make the sound insulators levitate in the middle of the height of the room. According to the manufacturer, in terms of sound absorption, 8 Soundsticks are equivalent to 6 conventional acoustic panels. No trace of the price could be found on the internet. No more than user reviews. The means employed nevertheless augur well for a very high quality product.
The circular economy, which forced its way in the world of furniture, is also making its mark in sound insulation. By inviting a designer to design his products as a bonus, we can only take our hat off. Even if some mysteries remain around Soundsticks, such as their price.