A conversation about lighting, acoustics & design

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Opposite to what the word implies, acoustic lighting is about much more than merging two rather technical fields of know-how—acoustic and lighting. Design is equally important in this relationship. To get a sense of the interplay between these three factors, we sat down with designer Alain Gilles and two of our BuzziExperts, Sarah and Daniel, for a conversation about lighting, acoustics, and design.

Why are there so few acoustic lighting products in the market?

Daniel starts off, “Lighting and acoustic solutions have root in two very different industries. Therefore, many lighting brands don’t have the in-house knowledge on acoustics so they’ll try to outsource these parts and vice versa. At BuzziSpace, everything is in-house.”

Alain nods agreeing and says, “Lighting is engineering, it’s hard components and metals. Adding acoustic elements to lighting typically involves upholstery and craftsmanship. It’s really a different skillset. Combining these two fields into a single product requires know-how most brands don’t possess on their own. For a long time, I’ve been wanting to extend my design portfolio to include sound-absorbing lighting, and now this has become a reality thanks to the collaboration with BuzziSpace.”

"Adding acoustic elements to lighting typically involves upholstery and craftsmanship. It’s really a different skillset."

— Alain Gilles, Designer

What’s most unique about the lighting elements, like BuzziHat and BuzziZepp LED?

“The, almost, endless fabric and color combinations”, says Sarah without hesitation in her voice. “With these new solutions, we’re giving the customer the opportunity to easily combine and match fabrics and colors with other furniture in the space to create a harmonious design. Apart from being functional, offering very good acoustic performance and light output, these new products are also fun.” Alain laughs and continues, “BuzziHat is fun. It has character and personality—a bit like Michelin’s cute, puffy white mascot, Bibendum.”

Which challenges do you typically encounter throughout the development process?

“Combining light with upholstered sound absorptive materials, such as foam, is quite a challenge in itself, not only concerning certifications but also from a design perspective. The end product must be beautiful and conceal its technical features”, states Daniel and looks up, “Take the BuzziMoon hanging above us. At first sight, you see a lamp covered in fabric without realizing that it’s an acoustic product as well. And that’s what I mean when talking about hiding technical properties."

Sarah adds, “Achieving this is only possible because of the close collaboration and open dialogue we have with our designers. In the end, it’s about striking a balance between design concept and what’s possible from a production perspective.”

"At first sight, you see a lamp covered in fabric without realizing that it’s an acoustic product as well. And that’s what I mean when talking about hiding technical properties."

— Daniel Verlooven, Acoustic Ambassador

Why should interior designers include acoustic lighting in their plans?

Alain begins, “Often space is already occupied by other furniture pieces, and sometimes the ceiling is too. But in between floor and ceiling, there’s not always a lot happening. In spaces like these, BuzziZepp LED can be a great add-on. With its dense, yet slim, foam core, it provides acoustic treatment to space while also supplying a great light output above a workstation.”

Sarah continues, “The same goes for BuzziHat. Both products create a lot of acoustic volume and with the integrated light both bring along extra functionality, providing versatility just like our existing products. Customers don’t have to invest in both lighting and acoustic solutions anymore, we combine both.”

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