Designing an Office That Works – Volume 3, Sound

By NanaWall Systems, April 5, 2018

NanaWall frameless folding glass walls

Offices present many design challenges, not the least of which is controlling for sound. An office designed without sound mitigation in mind is likely to be a distracting place to be.

NPR reports that noise, particularly noise made by one’s co-workers and fellow office inhabitants are rated as the number 1 distraction in office environments. Noise has been shown to detract from productivity and worker morale.

Sound-Rated and Specialty Glass Walls

Gunster Law Office, photo courtesy Amicon Construction

Similar to what we discussed in our previous installment on flexibility, good office acoustics are dependent on, among other things, a certain amount of space specification and compartmentalization.

Separating spaces by the type of work meant to be conducted within them helps employees decide what sound level they will be exposed to and when. Thus, it is important to design different kinds of spaces and select their proximity in relation to one another, and the materials used within them accordingly.

NanaWall Sliding Glass Walls

Generally speaking, offices should have a loud space (where activities like group work can take place), a quiet space, and enclosed spaces where people can meet privately without being overheard. Enclosed spaces that require acoustic but not visual privacy, such as meeting or conference rooms, are particularly good candidates for incorporation of opening glass walls.

NanaWall Frameless Glass Walls

NanaWall products are an efficient way to create flexible, multi-use spaces with built-in sound protection. Opening glass walls serve as great acoustical barriers when closed, then glide off into a corner to permit a once enclosed space to seamlessly reintegrate with the rest of the office, allowing the space to be truly multifunctional.

Questions about the acoustic utility of opening glass walls? Drop us an email at