When designing and selecting materials for new spaces or redesigning and refacing old ones there are 6 key elements to consider.  

1) Reflection
Straight smooth surfaces reflect sounds back into the central space making sound clarity "muddy". This includes but is certainly not limited to wall surfaces, tile, concrete, glass, desks, laminate flooring, black or white boards, stainless or metal type features, stone. These materials are sleek and sensational, but they can make some spaces virtually unusable if the amount of reflected noise compromises privacy, such as from within a board room, reception or meeting area.
2) Selection
Straight smooth surfaces reflect sounds back into the central space making sound clarity "muddy". This includes but is certainly not limited to wall surfaces, tile, concrete, glass, desks, laminate flooring, black or white boards, stainless or metal type features, stone. These materials are sleek and sensational, but they can make some spaces virtually unusable if the amount of reflected noise compromises privacy, such as from within a board room, reception or meeting area.
3) Echo
Sounds traveling within 30 milliseconds of each other are perceived without echo. Sounds traveling after the 30 millisecond threshold become echoes of the original sound. Again, consider the surfaces that will most likely reflect sound and how they are positioned. You may wish to add baffles, acoustic clouds or panels that will interrupt the path of the wave as it reflects.
4) Direction
Where sound in the area of design should travel to. For example, office conversations that needlessly travel to employee office spaces can be quite a distraction. Simple acoustic desk screens can diminish this type of sound if placed properly between work areas although more sophisticated solutions are also available. Explore your options with an expert on noise mitigation.
5) Obstruction
Where sound in the area of design should travel to. For example, office conversations that needlessly travel to employee office spaces can be quite a distraction. Simple acoustic desk screens can diminish this type of sound if placed properly between work areas although more sophisticated solutions are also available. Explore your options with an expert on noise mitigation.
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