From cutting into dropped ceilings to strategically spacing baffles, architects and designers have long sought unobtrusive ways to specify good sound control alongside appropriate lighting without compromising either. So recently, manufacturers of both lighting and acoustics have begun offering hybrids—acoustics/lighting products that perform the two functions in one. Luceplan, for example, collaborated with architects Odile Decq and Monica Armani on handsome luminaires that conceal acoustical material within the fixtures themselves. Armstrong Ceiling Solutions developed a system that integrates USAI-brand lights within the ceiling grid for a seamless appearance. And felt and furniture brand BuzziSpace continues to expand its lighting line, which incorporates its proprietary acoustical material. Now Seattle-based LightArt, a 3form company, has tossed its hat into the ring.
“Designers would look at our [fixtures] and ask if we had something like those, but acoustic,” says Ryan Smith, president and creative director of LightArt, of why the company began rolling out such offerings.
During New York’s annual NYCxDesign festival, LightArt unveiled two of its first forays in the category. Static is a linear LED suspension with a clean, minimalist look. Instead of acrylic, metal, or wood, sound-absorbing PET felt sandwiches the light source. The combination fixture is ideal for offices. It comes in 4- and 8-foot lengths with felt panels in nickel or cast gray.
More dramatic in appearance, Echo is a pendant light with baffles that fan out like spokes on a wheel. But its design is not purely decorative: The dimensional geometric patterns produced by combining Echo modules in various configurations can provide an NRC value ranging from 0.85 to 1. “Often our research comes from needs or gaps we see out in the field. We’re solving the problem of high-quality lighting over people’s heads. Why can’t we solve [for] acoustics as well?” says Smith. Now that’s music—or should we say silence—to our ears.