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Oklahoma City-based professional liability insurer PLICO hired Elliott + Associates Architects to design their new office, located in the city’s version of New York’s Flatiron Building. The company’s upper management wanted a space with a modern design aesthetic and natural light while preserving the history of one of Oklahoma City’s most unique buildings.

The renovation encompassed the entire two-level building, including modern additions to the rooftop, boardroom, and outdoor deck. Although the building did not include cubicles, walls were made of a clear polycarbonate material that helped protect visual privacy while allowing for natural light. A two-foot space between the top of the walls and the open ceiling was implemented to create a more open feel.

Elliott + Associates Architects worked with Rob Rogers from technology integrator Audio\Visual Design (AVD) to ensure acoustical privacy within the offices. Rob recommended a sound masking system be installed before completion of the construction to help mitigate the anticipated issues.

SOLUTION

Sound masking is the process of adding an unobtrusive background noise to an environment through speakers installed in the ceiling, used to cover up excess speech noise. PLICO agreed and decided to incorporate the QtPro™ sound masking system into the office renovation. AVD installed small, barely visible emitters (loudspeakers) throughout the open ceiling areas of the space, connected by cables to an intuitive Qt® 300 control module mounted in the server room. These emitters were small enough to be easily placed in similar enclosures to the ones holding some of the light fixtures. “Incorporating the emitters into the design was easy,” says Bill Yen from Elliott + Associates. “I’ve worked with Rob Rogers from AVD for a long time, and he knows how to incorporate technology, including sound masking technology, into our designs seamlessly.” 

CONCLUSION

PLICO’s new office is everything they hoped it would be, excelling in both form and function. Employees can now concentrate with minimal speech noise distractions, holding meetings in their private offices and conference rooms without fear of being overheard. Additionally, the small size of the emitters ensured the sleek, industrial interior design wasn’t compromised. Sound masking even helped cover up some nearby road noise. “The sound masking system makes it so speech noise just kind of fades into the background and you don’t notice it,” says Brook Barnett, office manager at PLICO. “We love our new office!”