We’ve all been there, tossing and turning on our beds and not being able to fall asleep because of street noise, the sound of crickets or the snores coming from from your partner lying beside you. When you finally wake up the next morning, you feel sluggish and generally unequipped to deal with the day. While these effects may be temporary, we’re learning that for sustained periods and at high levels, sound has a profound impact on our personal health that goes far beyond a bad night’s rest.
In 2012, the European Union published a noise pollution report, finding that, “Environmental noise pollution can aggravate serious direct as well as indirect health effects, for example damage to hearing or sleep and later mental disorder, as well as increasing blood pressure.” Furthermore, “…treatment of noise-related health conditions, and the productivity impact of noise, the European Commission estimates the social cost of road traffic noise to be between $39-$60 billion per year, or 0.4% of the region’s GDP.” The volume of life is quite literally amplified in urban environments, adding unwelcome stress and discomfort to everyday life so why shouldn’t our home act as a quiet place of refuge where we can get away from it all?
In a trend from our Future of Home Living report we are calling Hushed Interiors, PSFK Labs looks at how soundproofing technologies and materials are being incorporated into home products and decor to control noise levels both within and from outside people’s living spaces. These designs help dampen the flow and intensity of sound to ensure more restful and restorative environments.
An example of this trend is Feltone blinds. Developed by Japan-based Tokyo Blinds, Feltone is a sound-absorbing window blind made of felt that creates a sound absorbing pocket of air in between the window and blind. The blinds are 90% less expensive than comparable soundproof panels, while retaining the look and function of conventional blinds. The product’s effectiveness comes from the 50–200mm of empty space between the blinds’ slats and the wall, which increases sound absorption.
Another example are the Hexagon sound absorbing panels, which are a sustainable soundproofing solution consisting of colorful panels that can be arranged on room walls as unique creative murals. Designed by the Swedish firm Form Us With Love, the modular sound absorbing pieces are made of wood wool, an environmentally friendly and durable material consisting of wood slivers, water and cement. The modern tiles can be placed on walls and used for in-room sound balancing.
New technologies like the Feltone blinds and Hexagon tiles point to the ways that designers are seamlessly integrating sound-proofing elements into everyday design and fall under a larger theme we’re calling Equilibrium, which points to the way architects and designers are integrating feelings of balance, health, and well-being into people’s living spaces and everyday lives.
PSFK has announced the latest in a series of trend reports. Following studies into retail, social media, gaming, work and mobile, the PSFK Labs consulting team have generated the Future of Home Living report. That report manifests as a free summary presentation, an in-depth downloadable PDF and an exhibition in New York City that runs to August 16.
RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.