Form, Function & Acoustic Design

23 October 2017 |

Acoustics are important in every space, whether in a home, office, retail space, or even outdoors. By minimizing unwanted noise, one can focus on the sounds or conversations intended for the respective programmatic design.


Minimizing sound is as simple as absorbing the vibrations and minimizing the amount of sound reflection happening on a surface. Sound dampening is possible through various methods, including; paint types, textures, wall and floor materials, and ceiling installations. Acoustic performance is rated using an NRC value, also known as the Noise Reduction Coefficient. In general, the softer the material, the more sound it will absorb, and the more rigid a material is, the more it will reflect.

The NRC value calculates how much noise travels through a given material, and how much bounces back. If there is an NRC rating of 0, there is absolute reflection (bad acoustics), while a value of 1.0 represents absolute absorption. For a quieter space, the goal is to get as close to a value of 1.0 as possible.

In the field of design, there is an ongoing tug-of-war between which is more important, form or function.  Form suggests the visual and/or sculptural design, while function is an operational purpose.

Submaterial Wall Panel Designs


Submaterial falls into the spectrum of designers who believe it is not too much to ask for both in a product!

With our hand-crafted wallcoverings and wall panels, we strive to make interior spaces more pleasing to visit. Wallcoverings can act as a textural accent wall, but there are functional properties in addition to the visual intentions.

These wool-felt wallcoverings are backed with recycled cork, as our products are environmentally conscious and renewable. These selected materials are beautiful to look at, but they also play a role in acoustic sound dampening.

Our wall panels are able to incorporate an acoustic core and reach 0.6 Noise Reduction Coefficient. A panel includes a plywood frame, and a thick acoustic core, and is then covered in 2-5 mm wool felt, frequently backed with recycled cork depending on the specific design. By alternating felt thickness, we can maximize the amount of sound confusion, to deter sound waves from making their way back to your eardrums.

Submaterial Wallcoverings


In addition to our acoustic core wall panels, we have a floor-to-ceiling Acoustic Surfaces Collection (seen in the images above).

Felt wall panels are a wonderful way to modernize, add color, decrease noise, and add dimension to any room. Our store has various panel designs to choose from, ranging in size, color, and price. To order a panel with the special acoustic core, give us a call or email and we can begin the fabrication process.

Submaterial, LLC
(505) 891-8356
[email protected]