Good acoustics are a prerequisite to the success of any commercial space. If reverberation and noise is not addressed effectively, the disruption can undermine the function of the space. Quality soundproofing complements and supports the way employees and employers interact and communicate.

“Creating spaces where the occupants can focus and achieve their goals efficiently with minimal distraction while remaining connected to others around them is a key consideration for workspaces,” Autex Acoustics Technical and Development Manager Robert Jones says.

“Increasingly we see the use of acoustic consultants being engaged to assist in the design of commercial office space,” he says.

There are so many creative and design savvy acoustic solutions on the market from stylish sound-absorbent timber planks to recycled and sustainably sourced materials such as polyester fibre in the form of a decorative wall coverings.

A popular acoustic solution offered by Autex Acoustics is Acoustic Timber, a high-performance product with authentic-looking timber wood grains, creating a beautiful, premium timber alternative with excellent acoustic absorption. Lightweight and semi-rigid, Acoustic Timber is made from 100% polyester fibre which gives clients a high standard of fire compliance and helps meet seismic requirements. Acoustic Timber is available in Cube Panels and Frontier Acoustic Raft Styles.

Autex also offers Quietspace Panels. Made from 100% polyester fibre, this discreet, high-performance acoustic treatment is engineered to absorb a minimum of 85% of the sound energy it meets. It’s designed to blend into any interior environment and is available in black, white, or grey.

For more colourful applications it can be laminated or overlaid with Autex Vertiface. Autex Vertiface, which again is made from polyester fibre, is available in over 35 colourways and is a durable, decorative wallcovering. Vastly flexible, it can be also used as a furnishing fabric, wallcovering, and acoustic panel overlay; with a soft velour finish on one side, and sleek flat pile on the other.

Autex Acoustics Technical and Development Manager Robert Jones says Autex prides itself on collaborating during the design and build process to provide products and solutions tailored to fit the project perfectly.

“This ultimately helps reduce material and energy wastage during production and transport and less installation time and effort during installation,” he says.

“Autex currently uses third party organisations to independently assess and verify that its products contain no harmful chemicals”.

Autex has also achieved carbon neutrality across its organisation and products contributing to WELL and Green Star Certification. The company values using sustainable materials. Robert explained that recycled content (polyester) is able to provide positive contributions to carbon offsetting while being recyclable at the end of life.

“Autex carefully selects the best suppliers to ensure they deliver quality products that have a responsible social and environmental track record,” he says.

Since 2020 each year Autex has used the equivalent of over 250 million 500ml recycled plastic bottles yearly, which were diverted from landfills and used in their products.

An example of Autex Acoustics solutions in action can be seen at the newly upgraded Phillip Island Penguin Parade Visitor Centre. Multi award-winning architects Terroir set out to transform the centre into a beautiful, practical public space. Terroir created a spectacular, star-shaped concept for the new visitor centre, a stunning zinc-cladded exterior and equally impressive geometric interior composed of glass, ply, and concrete finishes. However, with so many hard surfaces, acoustics were an obvious challenge.

“Treating the building interior acoustically, without compromising the building’s internal geometry, required in-depth product research and development with the acoustic engineer,” Terroir Associate David McPeak explains.

He said ensuring strict fire codes were met was also a challenge when selecting appropriate materials for the project. Not only did the centre’s large open spaces, high ceilings, and irregular triangular shapes call for a high-performing, integrated acoustic solution but the chosen product needed to be lightweight, easy to install, and easy to cut on-site to achieve the desired aesthetic.

Working closely with their acoustic engineer, Terroir selected a range of Autex Acoustic solutions to meet the requirements of different spaces within the visitor centre.

Autex Acoustic Soffit Liner (ASL), an acoustic lining for concrete soffits and slabs was specified in the main hall while a black Autex 50mm Quietspace Panel was installed in the theatre.  Autex Vertiface in Myst was applied in both the education centre and the administration areas.

Projects Coordinator for Phillip Island Nature Parks, Jarvis Weston says the Autex products played a critical role in softening the feel and the acoustics of the new centre.

“In the main atrium, which is about 150m long, there's a lot of Autex throughout and it looks quite spectacular – we’re really happy,” he says.

Design does not need to be compromised in any sense to achieve excellent acoustics in commercial spaces. As owner and product designer at Screenwood, Cameron Nelson points out: “unexpected fixtures and finishes are evolving to include noise mitigation properties”.

“Specifiers are choosing high quality products that quietly contribute to echo reduction and sound absorption without compromising their design,” he says.

Screenwood specialise in the design and manufacture of modular linear timber systems which combine the beauty of natural timber with the latest acoustic technology to create a unique finished solution for any project. Screenwood Systems are fire-rated, VOC tested and are acoustically rated. Screenwood is also environmentally certified. The solid timber battens and are mechanically assembled without the use of adhesives, allowing for maximum recyclability of each component at the end of their use. 

A recent example of Screenwood’s timber acoustic panels in action is in an office on High Street in Malvern, Victoria by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects. The project saw the rejuvenation and addition to a prominent Victorian-era building. Jackson Clements Burrows Architects took a sensitive approach to the traditional design while implementing creative updates, resulting in a contemporary workplace which honours its history.

Screenwood linear panels have been fitted along the conference room walls in a vertical position, which draws focus upward and across the ceiling, emphasising the dramatic saw-tooth roof line. More than just an architectural lining, Screenwood panels are designed to provide sound absorption which is essential in controlling reverberated noise and promoting acoustic comfort in the space. The Screenwood panels are illuminated by abundant sunlight which contributes to the warm and welcoming atmosphere.

“This thoughtfully designed space pairs expansive glazing with Screenwood acoustic panels which aid in echo reduction and sound absorption,” Cameron Nelson of Screenwood says.

“The coupling of hard surfaces with an acoustic finish is a strategic consideration to improve speech intelligibility and communication in these offices and meeting rooms”.

Another choice for creating a pleasant and workable acoustic environment in commercial spaces are operable walls by Bilspec. The movable closure systems are often used within commercial environments to allow greater flexibility of spaces. They allow spaces to be broken up further into multipurpose breakout spaces such as meeting rooms, board rooms, breakout rooms, meal rooms and more, whilst at the same time maintaining or enhancing acoustic control.

Operable walls offer each application varying acoustic properties, by limiting the transfer of sound between individual spaces. Materials used in the construction of the walls also assist in reducing reverberation in each space and thus allow greater speech intelligibility. Operable walls are generally core-constructed from either timber or glass.

The Bildspec Series 100 Solid wall, for example, consists of two outer skins of timber particle board or medium density fibre board (MDF), separated by appropriate acoustic insulation contained in an extruded aluminium perimeter frame with interlocking vertical stiles. MDF is a high grade, composite material made from recycled timber fibres and resin. It is dried and pressed to produce dense, stable sheets. Because of this process, MDF does not warp or crack like solid timber. And since MDF is made from small particles, it doesn’t have noticeable grain patterns, which results in a smoother surface finish, when required e.g., for painting.

Customers can then choose between multiple face finishes including, but not limited to, timber veneers, high pressure laminates, 2-pack polyurethane, colour back glass and an unlimited variety of fabrics. The choice depends on the desired aesthetic, feel and acoustic environment required.

Bildspec is the oldest and the first operable wall manufacturer in Australia. The company has a focus on an ecologically sustainable future by sourcing product from

suppliers who are equally committed. Their timber-based products are selected from suppliers who commit to a sustainable management of resources and responsible harvesting of timber. Bildspec is also committed to using water-based glues which are derived from either natural polymers or soluble synthetic polymers and are friendly to the environment.

Bildspec was recently engaged to provide operable walls at Warner Music’s new Head Office in Pyrmont, Sydney.  Warner Music is one of the largest record labels in the global music industry, and it was imperative that the performance and aesthetics of the installed product was supported.

Warner Music wanted to use moveable acoustic walls to easily reconfigure a large space into a flexible, modern, open and acoustically controlled space. The operable walls gave them the flexibility to use the room as either an informal area to allow staff to relax away from their busy open-plan work area, or when required, to create an adequate performance space (with an appropriate NRC) for live bands coinciding with soft launches of new albums or showcasing new musical talent.

High acoustic performance was an important part of the design brief. Through testing at the CSIRO, Bildspec discovered that a composite of materials affects different frequencies in differing ways. One side of Warner’s operable wall is clad Woven Image Mura (live performance side of wall), whilst the other side is covered Polytec Natural White laminate finish (facing the open-plan work area). At 1.9mm thick, the Woven Image Mura is helpful in controlling some of the reverberation in the room, and hence was used for the performing artist side of the wall. On the other side of the wall, a smooth Polytec laminate enables the kitchen and work area to have a graphic applied to create a great atmosphere for the people that work there.

Retractable bottom seals have also been utilised to overcome further reverberation issues caused by the new polished concrete floors. The project was a resounding success with Bildspec having supplied a high-acoustic functioning product which looked the part.

A commitment to the environment and sustainable materials is also a core value of Elton Group. Their Echolinear acoustic panelling system for ceilings and walls is made from E0 FSC pure board, making it a truly sustainable acoustic solution. The streamlined, flexible fixing system; has a seamless, linear look and is designed to achieve the highest aesthetic and sound quality levels. The modular, slotted, sound-absorbent timber planks fit together without screws or nails, making it fully demountable and re-usable. Manufactured with precision, the installation of Echolinear is fast and easy with a sophisticated and seamless finish. Echolinear’s timber substrate acts as an effective absorber as well as imbuing a warmth and timbre to a space.

The Elton Group recently installed a new creative workplace for their own Management, Sales and Marketing, and Creative Teams in Melbourne. A high-energy space for meeting and collaboration, Echolinear was installed on walls and ceilings, a neutral backdrop to the evolving products and displays, providing a simple architectural aesthetic and comfortable acoustic attenuation. This created the perfect balance against the hard floor finishes and glazed façade windows.

When it comes to designing a commercial space, the options on the market right now are creative and varied, with a wide choice of products made from sustainable, ethically sourced materials.

Image: Autex Acoustics solutions in action can be seen at the newly upgraded Phillip Island Penguin Parade Visitor Centre / Supplied


Autex Acoustics: Autex Acoustics | Architecture & Design (

Screenwood: Screenwood | Architecture & Design (

 Bildspec: Bildspec | Architecture & Design (

Elton Group: Elton Group | Architecture & Design (