Dealer Spotlight: InsideSource

There’s no doubt the pandemic has shifted how employers think about work and workplace design. Many companies are “inviting” employees back to the office rather than mandating a return, according to Douglas Frick, who specializes in Architectural Products & Acoustic Solutions at Insidesource in San Carlos, CA.

Insidesource works directly with the architecture & design community, corporate real estate consultants, construction project managers, facilities managers and end users. Serving tech, corporate, healthcare, education and general contractor clients since 1991, Insidesource now has offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Norwalk, CT, New York and London.

“The new workplace will be more about user choice than ever before,” says Frick, who has a front-row seat on a number of trends including acoustics. Snowsound’s innovative technology has been attractive to Insidesource clients because it mimics the properties of freshly fallen snow to absorb sound and eliminate echo for a more comfortable office environment.

Clearly, as we put COVID behind us, employees will be choosing the most comfortable place to work. Frick offers this one most important piece of advice to companies thinking about acoustics. “Don’t think you can avoid addressing it.” Keep reading below for more of his insights.

1 What trends are you seeing as companies begin to think about returning to work?

Insidesource: Many companies are looking to de-densify workstations and incorporate more casual settings to support the repositioning of the office as “a place to choose” for engagement and collaboration rather than a place where you are required to show up. With that, space division solutions are important to indicate the borders of different functional zones that may not be defined by architecture.

While I haven’t seen it yet I think there will be a new priority put on acoustic solutions in general. For the most part people have completely relearned how to work in very different environments than where we were most productive pre-pandemic. The breakdown of those conventions could really change the future of the office landscape.

I think the pandemic has instilled a greater sense of trust between employers and employees about how work gets done and what that looks like. I think working from home and teleconferencing will continue to be normal and acceptable in offices where perhaps it wasn’t before the pandemic. With the new workplace being more about teaming and user-choice, expect to see more agile environments with mobile and modular furniture and fixtures that can be reconfigured at will. These spaces will support the more casual workpoints and postures many have embraced while working at home.

2 What Snowsound products are most in demand now? Which classics are always best sellers?

Insidesource: Designers really respond to the clean geometries of FLAT panels. The option to change the aesthetic to a dynamic display by pivoting panels is very appealing. I think the modularity of Bow—and its unique shapes like Shield and Hourglass—will be similarly inspiring.

Facilities managers and end users appreciate the dual function of combining sound absorption and personal space division with freestanding solutions like PLI OVER. The ability to forgo wall or ceiling attachments and relocate the panels at will is attractive too.

Snowfix panels and baffles will always be important because they are simple to plan with and easy to grasp by those new to acoustic solutions. Architects are always interested in the simplicity of IN ceiling tiles to provide a very design-discreet solution for managing reverberation.

3 What's the number one reason Snowsound has been a "go to" solution for your clients?

Insidesource: Snowsound’s specification tools make budgeting very simple. The technology provides easy-to-understand outputs, so end users can grasp the performance value of their investment before diving into design options. Snowsound makes it simple to predict the outcome of an acoustic intervention and also demonstrate it with videos and product demos.

4 When designers specify Snowsound, what pain points are you helping them address?

Insidesource: I think the biggest challenge for designers is navigating “design for the eyes” versus “design for the ears.” Acoustic solutions can be design-discreet or design-impactful and designers need to navigate that space skillfully. Acoustic solutions are rarely planned for Day 1 from a purely performance perspective. They are usually included because someone likes the look of a particular application, but then they need help establishing value for the investment beyond aesthetics and understanding how much product will achieve a positive result as a basis for their designs.

Most acoustic challenges in the workplace are “discovered” on Day 2 and need to be addressed without impacting the current design. So managing the addition of performance with design-discreet solutions becomes important. Snowsound can drive a specification from either perspective; and we can trust the predicted results.

5 What is Snowsound's competitive advantage in terms of aesthetic and functionality?

Insidesource: I refer to Snowsound solutions as “productized.” What I mean is that they are objects and can be related to as such—so they can be simpler to work with from a planning and budgeting perspective. I think that is the aesthetic and functional advantage of Snowsound solutions.

Also, because they have a very high NRC, you use less product to achieve the desired result. In design, less is more and it’s easier to design less Snowsound into a space than more of another type of solution.

A lot of acoustic solutions are “surfaces” rather than “objects, so designing for those solutions can become cumbersome quickly, especially considering fitting around existing fixtures on walls and ceilings. Designing for maximum coverage while optimizing sheet yield and planning installation for acoustic surfaces can be very challenging. The installation costs for acoustic surfaces can quickly become a very high percentage of the total project costs. And in most cases that investment in labor and the associated products stay with the suite/building.

Since Snowsound solutions are productized, they can be easily added to spaces without major planning or complicated installations and they can be easily moved and reapplied in new ways if the end user relocates. Snowsound solutions can be easily scaled and standardized across different environments.

Visit Insidesource at one of their seven locations or at the Insidesource Virtual Showroom.

Snowsound offers an extensive range of products from wall-mounted to free-standing panels, acoustic textiles to divide space and even art installations. See them all here.

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