TURF: Acoustic Solutions for Open Spaces

A friend sent us some striking images yesterday from a Chicago-based company called TURF Design, so we looked them up. Founded in 2016 in Chicago, and acquired by Armstrong in July of this year, TURF says it seeks to conquer open space echo through innovative, aesthetically pleasing ceiling and wall solutions. The company works from a repurposed firehouse – an 8,000 square-foot Logan Square innovation center and showroom – and a 75,000-square-foot fabrication center in Elgin. A+A interviewed members of the firm recently via email:

Your design philosophy? TURF operates at the intersection of art, architecture and technology.  We aim to envision and produce our designs through a sustainable lens, with processes designed to keep waste to a minimum. Our material is made from up to 60% pre-consumer PET (polyester) plastic. We manufacture on demand, which helps to keep waste to a minimum, and we ship from our hometown of Chicago to reduce emissions.

Your clientele? TURF loves our collaborators and clients. We’re proud to have worked on projects for brands like Groupon, Google, and PayPal — but we have a diverse set of industries we play in, including hospitality, education, and retail.

Your design intent? On the surface, TURF’s intent is to help designers solve acoustical challenges. But at our core, it’s being the most diverse tool in an architect or designer’s kit to make their vision a reality. We love a challenge — whether it’s creating a fresh take on a wall tile or ceiling baffle, or developing a brand new custom solution, TURF believes that there’s no design dream we can’t realize. We like to think of our products as idea starters: Where TURF really shines is working together as a team with designer and architect partners to create something unique and custom that makes a project unlike any other.

Your design inspiration? We’re listening to our clients, but we’re also inspired by nature and technology. We’re also trying to approach our work with a sensory design based perspective.

The materials TURF uses? We create products using 9mm, 5mm (the molded tiles), and 3mm PET felt. Sometimes this material behaves like a board, but sometimes it can behave like a fabric. It totally depends on how we treat it.

What about acoustical considerations? In our eyes, acoustical considerations are of the utmost importance within open commercial spaces, and TURF can help with that by absorbing sound. Our advice? Consider the importance of speech privacy, comprehension and propagation in these settings during the design process. Compiling this information will help to create the vision, and TURF will make it a reality.

What are the features of TURF’s two new collections? Appealing to the eye through its undulating form, Reed drowns out distractions with grace. Its beautiful structure stems from a dense row of fluted felt, complementing its acoustic performance — the acoustic wall panel system achieves an NRC of .92. This wall tile collection consists of 30 different 9mm colorways, with the opportunity to adapt to fit a range of heights and use multiple colors.

Block proves that sound absorption is anything but dull. Block is high performance with a range of NRC values depending on the size and configuration of the baffles. Available in two different widths among 30 colorways and 8 wood-inspired textures, the acoustic ceiling baffle collection allows for limitless architectural applications.

For more, go here.

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