Aectual and Gramazio Kohler Research Introduce Mass-Customizable 3D Printed Acoustic Diffusion Panels

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Made from 100% circular plant-based plastics, made-to-measure 3D printed acoustic diffusion panels merge acoustics with aesthetics to reduce naturally occurring reverberation that occurs in any room

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Aectual Acoustic Diffusion Panels 1

Acoustics and architecture are directly linked with each other. Although sound is not visible, the geometry of a room and its acoustic characteristics are intrinsically coupled. This connection between aesthetics and acoustics provided the point of departure to create beautiful acoustic panels.

Aectual, the worlds’ first platform to rapidly produce bespoke 3D printed XL architectural and interior products at industrial scale, today announced the commercial launch of 3D printed, acoustic diffusion panels that are 100% circular. Designed in collaboration with architectural design group, Gramazio Kohler Research at ETH Zürich, Aectual’s new acoustic diffusion panels are for use in both commercial and residential spaces and naturally balance out the sound in any room by mitigating noise and reducing reverberation and echo.

Made from a plant-based plastic, Aectual’s acoustic diffusion panels are mass customizable and made-to-measure for every space and are designed to bring more comfort to commercial buildings such as hotel lobbies, libraries, offices, and shopping malls, as well as private homes and apartments. The design platform allows the adaptation of surfaces to individual room shapes and Aectual clients can personalize the acoustic diffusion panels to their unique taste. For large projects (greater than 100 square meters / 1000 square feet), a tailored soundscript is created based on the spatial design of the room. Private homeowners can merge aesthetics and acoustics by easily attaching the panels to any wall.

“Acoustics and architecture are directly linked with each other. Although sound is not visible, the geometry of a room and its acoustic characteristics are intrinsically coupled. This connection between aesthetics and acoustics provided the point of departure for our team to create beautiful acoustic panels that are specifically designed to give rooms a pleasant and soft feeling,” said Prof. Matthias Kohler at Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich. “We are thrilled to work with Aectual as they bring our designs to life.”

Spatial acoustics are typically improved in one of two ways: by dampening or by diffusing methods. Aectual’s panels utilize the diffusion approach to soften the edges of hard sounds. The Gramazio Kohler Research team explored the combination of digital aesthetic parameters with acoustic performance. The result is a unique parametric design script that generates an elegant, undulating surface that disperses sound waves. Aectual’s acoustic diffusion panels are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the ear — visually mimicking the infinitely changing landscape of waves, rhythmically moving but never the same. The panels absorb no less than 50% of the reflected sound waves in various spectra.

Aectual’s 3D-printing additive manufacturing process is entirely waste-free and a majority of Aectual’s products utilize circular plant-based plastics. After use, Aectual takes back the building products and directly recycles and reprints them into new products. Depending on the product type, this results in a 35% to 95% material reduction due to its parametric designs, amount of materials needed, special manufacturing and product design optimization. The process - Aectual Circular - is a novel circular design and digital production service that allows products made by Aectual to be easily shape-shifted from one material into infinite interior design solutions up to seven times.

“Aectual’s founding mission is to provide 100% circular, on-demand, smart design solutions that make use of digital design and digital manufacturing. Our collaboration with Gramazio Kohler Research demonstrates Aectual’s ambition to bring together academic research and innovative designs to a wide audience, by offering designers and academia a single platform to publish, manufacture, and directly share and sell their designs,” said Aectual co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, Hedwig Heinsman.

Aectual acoustic panels can be directly purchased via the consumer web shop or personalized to the buyer’s exact taste. Architects and their clients can also choose to create their own made-to-measure project solutions via the architecture section. The panels are available in a standard ‘velvet grey’ color or in any Natural Color System​® (NCS) color upon request. Prices start at €975 per square meter ($110 per square foot or £78 per square foot).

About Aectual
Aectual is the worlds’ first platform to rapidly produce bespoke XL 3D-printed architectural and interior products at industrial scale that are 100% circular. We develop sustainably 3D-printed products, furniture and finishes for both indoor and outdoors — all made from 100% recycled and renewable materials. Our seamless digital design-to-delivery platform utilizes customizable parametric products, software and proprietary XL 3D print technology, and is already in use and deployed by globally recognized brands like BMW, Nike and Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport. Aectual allows for a 10x faster design-to-build process, eliminates waste and reduces materials usage and CO2 emissions, resulting in up to a 50% cost savings and the possibility to create truly sustainable, custom-made architectural and interior design products.

Founded in 2017, Aectual is the brainchild of three experienced architects and 3D-print experts, who are the team behind the 3D Print Canal House, an internationally acclaimed design-and-build research project into new global housing solutions and market explorations. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Aectual is a privately held company backed by AKEF and DOEN. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, or learn more at            

About Gramazio Kohler Research    
Gramazio Kohler Research, the Chair for Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich is led by Prof. Fabio Gramazio and Prof. Matthias Kohler. Their multidisciplinary interest ranges from computational design and robotic fabrication to material innovation. In 2000, they founded the architecture practice Gramazio Kohler Architects, where numerous award-winning designs have been realized. Opening also the world’s first architectural robotic laboratory at ETH Zurich, Gramazio Kohler’s research has been formative in the field of digital architecture, setting precedence and de facto creating a new research field merging advanced architectural design and additive fabrication processes through the customized use of industrial robots. This ranges from 1:1 prototype installations to the design of robotically fabricated high-rises.

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