Santa Fe New Mexican, Softening Sound in Modern Homes

11 September 2021 |

Closer to home, an Albuquerque-based company produces handmade felt wall panels that both attenuate sound and dress up a room. Founder and creative director David Hamlin started his company, Submaterial, in his garage in 2006. He’s since outgrown his space twice and now boasts 25 employees and an impressive client list — Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft, to name a few.

While his company does create custom installations for commercial businesses, such as hotels and tech sector offices, it also carries a line of residential products.

“We’ve created a new objective for the business, focused on residential interiors. We have a program of beautiful wall panels, mirrors and accessories,” Hamlin says. “We have a range of things currently available in our online shop. We also do a lot of custom panels. Most people prefer to work with us in that custom way.”

Hamlin echoes Cole’s lament about loud homes. “I visit people’s homes who have all these sound issues. Hardwood floors, glass, concrete and drywall. The sound is just banging around in there,” he says. “There’s a lot you can do in a residence in acoustic ways, with rugs and soft furnishings. Especially in these modern interiors where it’s all hard surfaces. Acoustic science is generally very broad strokes. Someone may be able to tell you how many square feet of absorptive coverage you need, but it also needs to look good.”

Submaterial’s decorative panels, painstakingly hand-assembled by its artistic team, feature a variety of patterns and colors. Panels like the Myth and Diade designs not only bring a splash of color to a room, but visual texture and noise reduction.

“We work from the standpoint of aesthetics. Wool felt is a beautiful material to work with. Over the years, the technology to make them has evolved, so they are not just decorative anymore. They also soften the sound scape in a home, performing two different functions,” says Hamlin.

Jessa Cast for The New Mexican

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