Acoustics for Interiors: sound-absorbing solutions for mixed locations

Acoustics for Interiors: what do the “Nuvola”  convention centre, the Argentina theatre, the Santa Cecilia Academy auditorium, and the Doha Ministry of Immigration auditorium have in common? Simple, they were all delivered by Devoto Design. This time, though, we’ll focus on something specific these projects have in common: sound.


We often take the comfort and coziness of the places we live in for granted. That’s why we acknowledge the importance of a good interior acoustic project… when there isn’t one!

For example when we are in a restaurant and we can’t hear or talk to the people that are with us, overwhelmed by the background noise and the voices of other people. Or when in a theatre, auditorium, or conference hall we can’t properly distinguish words and sounds of a show or public event. Well, in all these cases what probably makes our experience unpleasant is the absence of a proper acoustic project.

In more than 40 years of career, Devoto Design has worked with engineers and experts to support our clients in the choice of finishes and materials that could grant the best acoustic performance. Let’s have a look at some of them…

Acoustics for Interiors: the importance of sound diffusion

Museums, auditoriums, conference halls need specific regulations and standards for what concerns acoustic performance. In this case, the choice of materials and the project details play an essential role.

Case works with sound-absorbing solutions

Let’s start with one of the materials we know best and we have dedicated most of our time and researches to. Wood in itself is a material that can grant the right balance between sound absorption and diffusion. It can also be shaped to reach forms that can help grant this balance.

An example of this is the Conciliazione auditorium in Rome, with the multifaceted structure of its walls or the recording rooms inside the Santa Cecilia Music Academy of Rome. By clicking the links below, you can visit the dedicated pages.

Upholstered panels and seats: Conciliazione auditorium

For this massive and important place, Devoto Design furnished the main hall: one room on two levels and with 1480 seats. It is clad in wood and the acoustic performance is also given by the use of upholstered panels and seats.

Spruce panels for Santa Cecilia recording rooms

Recording room with acoustic panels in spruce, hemlock and fabric. The three-layered panels were used to obtain surfaces, milling, sticks and fabric portions according to the supplied acoustic project. 

Santa Cecilia Audio Recording Room >

Micro-pierced panels for the “Nuvola”

The balance between sound “reverberation” and “absorption” can also be given by micro-pierced acoustic panels. An example is the auditorium inside the Nuvola, the new convention centre of Rome. The right balance between the presence of micro-pierced acoustic panels and cherry wood panels grants the proper and functional diffusion of sound inside the hall.

Designed by Italian Starchitect Massimiliano Fuksas, the auditorium hidden inside the big white cloud (nuvola) can welcome 2500 people. Devoto Design delivered the internal and external double-curving wood cladding, sustained by a metal substructure that is anchored to the main structure of the building.  The internal cladding, an uninterrupted surface in cherry wood, has its origin from the stairway, made of solid cherry wood, and stretches out according to the volume and geometry of the structure and according to the wood grain..


Nuvola EUR > 

Acoustics for Interiors can be improved thanks to sound-absorbing materials

ARGENTINA THEATRE, Rome. For this historical theatre Devoto Design was asked to renovate the main hall. Devoto delivered the millworks as well as the upholstered elements, that play an important role in the excellent acoustic performance of the theatre.

To grant and improve the balance between reverberation and absorption we can use different materials with good sound-absorbing features. For example, the velvet we used at Argentina Theatre or the Kvadrat technical acoustic panels we used for the Ministry of Immigration of Doha auditorium.

The importance of an “acoustic project”

We close this short article by remarking on the importance of acoustic performance as an essential part of the experiences we live indoors, in places like auditoriums, hotels, and restaurants. That’s why we always recommend an acoustic project that analyzes the sound absorption/reverberation characteristics of the chosen materials and furniture.

Today it is possible to find different products and claddings that help sound absorption without mining the aesthetics. We are talking about the colourful sound-absorbing panels that can be fixed on the walls and ceiling and the “acoustic” fabric that can be used to cover benches, seats, furniture, and accessories.

Cristina Bowerman’s Romeo and Linea & Typo inside the MAXXI museum are two of the restaurants where this kind of intervention has taken place. To improve the acoustic performance, we used some specific suspended sound-absorbing elements that also work as decoration and lighting elements. 

In conclusion, every place must have the right balance between reverberation and absorption. A balance that must take into consideration different characteristics such as the size of the place, the thickness of the walls, the presence of windows and glazed walls.

Acoustics is an essential requisite especially when it comes to collective spaces such as libraries, auditoriums, conference halls and museums…


Our advice for the correct and functional interior acoustics?

Always ask for an acoustic project and an expert company like us!


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