Open floor plans in business/office environments date back to 1958, when an innovative German consulting firm first introduced the concept of an “office landscape,” a conglomeration of traditional workplace furniture, curved screens, and oversized potted plants meant to supplant the private office, steno pool, and switchboard configuration. Before long, office furniture manufacturers hopped on board with the panels that would eventually give rise to the often-misinformed open cubical environment.
While the cubical office space setup efficiently utilizes space, productivity and efficiency suffer when audio and visual distractions proliferate. Hoping to remedy the situation, Kirei, a foremost designer and supplier of pioneering acoustic materials, recently added a new piece to their burgeoning line of partition solutions.
Introducing the EchoScreen
Many modular panel manufacturers tout their products’ portability, but when it actually comes time to reconfigure a large workspace, the panels prove themselves bulky and difficult to arrange. By contrast, Kirei’s new EchoScreen can be mounted to most wall surfaces or suspended from any ceiling. You can install screens individually or group them together to create new arrangements and help diminish sonic and visual overstimulation for a healthier, more dynamic office environment. The EchoScreen’s “Rolling Track” hardware permits the panels to freely run on a movable ceiling track — a process that’s controlled by an accompanying set of cables and rods. EchoScreens are easily mounted to existing T-grid ceilings with T-grid clips, already making them well-suited for most conventional office environments. Furthermore, the panels can be set up in uninterrupted runs or side-by-side to wrap around or overlie each other.
In addition to the more traditional designs, EchoScreen panels can be customized and printed out in any one of 20 muted and vivacious colors. Use a single one as an artistic focal point or use several to create enclosed spaces of any size. Each panel measures 94 inches tall by 46 inches wide and 12 millimeters thick, and all of them are constructed from a mixture of recycled aluminum and PET by Woven Image, the main manufacturer of all Kirei’s North American EchoPanel products.
“Kirei” is the Japanese character that signifies “beautiful,” though it’s also commonly associated with purity, truth, and cleanliness. The company believes their products illustrate their commitment to these qualities with respect to our ecosystem. They describe themselves as “the source for ecologically responsible, high-performance interior elements.”
Dedicated to manufacturing products that are sensibly sourced, Kirei offers tiles made from recovered coconut shells and sustainably harvested Kirei Board and Bamboo panels. Their EchoPanel acoustic material, which aided in the rescue of over 80 million plastic bottles from landfills, is completely recyclable when it loses its usefulness.
Since the company launched in 2003, architects, interior designers, and other professionals across North America have looked to Kirei for eco-friendly, original, visually intriguing, and practical design resources. Kirei’s products have been used for major projects around the world, including restaurants, offices, hotels, schools, hospitals, and government buildings.