Autex Acoustics products are recognised worldwide for providing stylish and practical solutions that proactively improve workspaces. We've worked together for over four years, providing our clients with versatile, bespoke solutions that enhance their workspaces.
Autex Director Dan Black and Amy Marrocco, Head of Sales, recently visited the POS team in Guernsey to talk about the science behind acoustics and how they're working with designers like us to transform work environments.
The company was founded in Auckland back in 1967 by four British entrepreneurs. Back then, the business' key focus was propylene carpet tiles which proved extremely popular within the Australian market and led to the opening of four branches there.
Over the next 20 years, the business diversified, embracing new tech trends for repurposing the Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) associated with plastic bottles that would usually go to landfill.
Autex was the first to create a new polyester product, called Composition, that is used to insulate homes while also acting as an acoustic insulator for classrooms and other public sector buildings.
We brought the business over in 2014 when there were no PET products in the marketplace. Fibreglass was the alternative material back then, so we were market leaders in bringing a healthier, sustainable approach to building design, which is something we continue to do.
Following our launch in New Zealand and expansion into the UK, we now have four manufacturing plants in Australia, another in New York with a showroom, a London showroom, and another factory in Yorkshire; so, we indeed are a global brand.
Aside from the environmental and sustainability credentials, we've worked hard to apply our knowledge and make our products more design-led and visually appealing - it's been quite a journey.
Today, rather than just a panel on a wall, our products are multi-functional, offering style and substance; they have the design 'wow-factor' but are also effective in reducing noise pollution and splitting off different office zones in an aesthetically pleasing way.
We have an extensive R&D department and design team, so we invest heavily in keeping pace with colour trends, applications, acoustics and environmental implications to keep us at the top of our game.
Customised Cube products make up 80% of our sales, but we're constantly launching new lines; for example, our timber print product is new to the market, and we're now working on a granite and concrete finish.
It's about substituting hard surfaces with soft ones, which help to reduce the speed of sound by reducing the reverberation time (RT) in that space. Our acousticians are constantly working to minimise RT across our product range so we can provide bespoke solutions that offer up to 45% noise reduction.
You mentioned sustainability - can you tell us a little more?
Our products comply with several global building rating schemes, including BREEAM, LEED and WELL, which meet various environmental, sustainability, health, and wellbeing criteria.
We know that sustainability is moving up the corporate agenda, so we have recently become carbon neutral in everything we do, from the way we manufacture and the products we use to the way we come to market and the cars we drive; it's what our customers and partners expect.
POS is our sole distributor in the islands, and the relationship gives us great insight into the local market.
The hospitality sector has grown, with local restaurant, coffee shop and bar owners really noticing the benefits of investing in acoustic, noise-reducing products for a better dining environment.
Much of our Channel Islands business also comes from the financial sector; there's a direct link between the businesses here and their offices in other jurisdictions that already use our products.
Collaborative workspaces have become more important as firms try to encourage staff back to the office. Providing an attractive work environment with separate zones and improved acoustics is one thing, but these spaces must work harder.
People got used to working at home with fewer distractions, so the acoustics need to simulate this by providing optimal spaces for POS's three Cs – Concentration, Collaboration and Contemplation. These spaces need to be flexible, inviting, and enjoyable to work in, or employees will want to work from home.
It's a very collaborative approach; we provide POS with regular product updates so that they can form part of the design brief. Every project is different; we might be brought in at the design stage or day two to provide a solution to a new project or engage during the fit-out – we can collaborate at various stages.
Education is a vital part of how we work together, informing our clients on how the work environment directly benefits employees' health and wellbeing – it's something which POS champions.
Visual, acoustic, and sound comfort are three vital components of a healthy and productive workspace. Unfortunately, these can be drastically affected by office design, impacting how staff work and feel daily. Our products safeguard these three components for an optimum working environment.
Air quality, biophilic design, colour and lighting also play a crucial part in boosting workplace wellbeing, so we encourage clients to bring more natural lighting, plants or even whole ecosystems into their offices. So again, it's about working with designers, architects, and suppliers to educate clients on how to keep staff happy, healthy and productive.
‘We'd been pioneering acoustic solutions in the Channel Islands for 15 years before partnering with Autex. Historically, designers would work with their eyes without thinking about sound, so clients would approach us retrospectively to troubleshoot acoustic issues.
‘Back then, the products we were working with were pretty unattractive, so Autex products offered an ideal solution. Now, we can educate our clients and improve their operational productivity with our designs. Providing our clients with first-class products that improve acoustic comfort while enhancing the aesthetic and the design is very important to us.
‘The products' diversity is a crucial factor in the design process; the products can be customised for a bespoke solution for each project, from brief to completion.
‘We see Autex as collaborative partners, bringing their insights and knowledge to every brief so we can meet the demands of our clients in a unique, stylish and practical way.’