May 1, 2007
A textile designer serves up her sound-dampening technique at England’s National Tennis Centre.
Finnish-born Anne Kyyrö Quinn is known for her strikingly textured felt pillows and accessories. Now the London-based designer is pioneering a sleek solution to a problem plaguing many contemporary interiors: noise pollution. Recognizing the acoustic properties of 100 percent felt wool, she developed a layered range engineered to dampen sound. “Wool is too soft to reverberate, so the fabric diffuses the sound and reduces the decibel count by as much as seventy-five percent,” Kyyrö Quinn explains. But her 3-D technique plays an important role too. “The surfaces of my fabrics are intricately structured, which makes them highly absorptive. Loops and folds in the surface design create tiny cavities that wick sound waves into the layer of fabric underneath. Like an acoustic sponge, it soaks up ambient noise.”
Kyyrö Quinn’s acoustic textiles have taken her work in a fresh direction. Bovis Lend Lease’s London headquarters, for example, commissioned floor-to-ceiling panels in its meeting rooms to muffle background noises and make the sound quality of conference calls clearer. More recently, the designer’s creations were installed in the public area at Britain’s newly built National Tennis Centre, in Roehampton, apparently chosen more for their resemblance to fine art than for their acoustical merits. Cut, sewn, and finished by hand, Kyyrö Quinn’s latest designs—on display at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair—will resonate with a buzz of their own.