Love the feeling of stepping onto a warm floor using carpet on a cold winter’s morning, but don’t know how to specify it in other areas of a project? It turns out there are plenty of reasons to feature carpets off of the floor, be that in either domestic or workplace settings.
Converting an old warehouse with concrete floors and exposed brick walls into a modern office might seem appealing, but could have unintended consequences in terms of practicality. Those same hard surfaces might look fantastic, but they’re terrible when it comes to certain aspects of acoustics. While the physical mass of the walls and floor prevent external noise from entering a space, it’s the interior surface finishes that typically matter the most when it comes to being unable to hear the person sitting next to you. Hard surfaces are the worst at reducing reverberation levels within a space – and not just the walls and floor. The same goes for any hard surface present in the room, such as tabletops. On the other hand, any soft surface – whether it be padded walls, upholstered chairs, people (yes, people are soft), or even hanging carpets – reduce the level of reverberation in a space through sound absorption, improving audibility and making everything seem just that little bit quieter.
In addition to providing acoustic privacy, carpet can also provide visual privacy if placed between spaces of contrasting function – without the isolating characteristics of four walls and a door. Since the rise of open plan office spaces, extensive studies have shown that the increase in noise levels and lack of privacy in such spaces have led to decreases in both employee satisfaction and productivity. Employers might want to consider breaking up the spaces visually as well as audibly, creating spaces designed for concentration in the process.
Carpets are also effective insulators due to millions of fibres trapping air between them, keeping air cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Wool carpets are the most effective, with proper application shaving off between 8-13 per cent of a household’s heating and cooling bill. The same paper notes that additionally, the technical properties of a wool carpet also provide a “high resistance to burning and removal of indoor air pollutants”, and maintain their effectiveness on both floors and walls.
How space looks will typically be the first thing you experience, and for better or worse it can leave quite a lasting impression. Carpets and textiles can be experimented with like any other work of art, seen as such during Sydney Indesign in 2015, where carpet-tile company Interface collaborated with 6 local designers to reflect the ways in which we live, work and play. To top it off, carpeting comes with the added acoustical, visual and thermal properties already discussed.