Acoustics in Open Plan Offices

March 23rd, 12.00 - 19.00

Format: Conference

Date: 23 March 2023

Time: 12.00 – 19.00

Location: Royal Danish Academy, Auditorium 2, Philip De Langes Allé, Copenhagen

Parking: If you arrive by car, leave the care at Operahuset parking, Ekvipagemestervej 6 (from there a 10 min. walk to the Royal Academy)

Price: Free

Language: English

Catering: sandwich – coffee & cake – networking drink

!! Please sign up as soon as possible to help us prepare the catering for everybody attending the event.

Join industry colleagues and researchers for this fascinating seminar at the Royal Danish Academy. Come get inspired, updated and network with the experts on the latest research and progress in Acoustics in Open Plan Offices.

Photo: Kelly Huang – Unsplash


What’s the problem? 

Many of us spend our working lives in large open-plan offices – enormous spaces with a great number of people. There are many reasons as to why this has become the preferred office layout – it saves space and (in principle) improves communication and the opportunity for collaboration between colleagues. In many cases this working environment functions well, but a number of conditions must be under control – the lighting, heating, ventilation, physical layout and of course a shared understanding of behaviour.  One of the biggest challenges of larger spaces is the interaction between various sound sources and the often sub-optimal acoustics.

The result is that office workers are frequently disturbed from their work, and they become fatigued more quickly as the brain is constantly processing all of this background noise. We know that workplace efficiency depends on many factors and that some people are more sensitive to noise than others, but for most people, an open layout is not the most efficient environment for concentrated and efficient working.

How can we optimize these working spaces?  

There are new tools in the form of standards, guidelines and software for making calculations. These tools support better planning and building of open offices, whilst taking into account other aspects like sustainability.

The Danish Sound Cluster invites you to an in-person seminar where you will hear talks by several industry experts, and be brought up to speed on the latest research and development on acoustics in open offices.

Join us at the Royal Danish Academy for this one-off unique event.

Who is this event for?  

Architects, acousticians, architecture students, researchers, architecture companies, consultancy firms, consultants within acoustics, entrepreneurs, the Danish “arbejdstilsynet” and those working with sustainability.



12:00 - 13:00

Sign in, grab a sandwich and free networking




By Eddy B. Brixen, introducing Torben Vilsgaard, CEO Danish Sound Cluster


Introduction to the topics of the seminar

By Eddy Bøgh Brixen, consultant, EBB-consult

There are many aspects to deal with when establishing open-plan offices. The acoustic properties are among them. These include reverberation time, privacy vs. intelligibility, acoustic capacity vs. no of workplaces, placement of kitchenettes, silence vs. noise, phone talk vs. talk-boxes, video meetings on site or in other rooms, active standards, best practice, helpful technology, individual considerations, etc.

Bio: Eddy B. Brixen received his education in electronic engineering from Danish Broadcasting Corporation, the Copenhagen Engineering College, and the Technical University of Denmark. Major activities include room acoustics, electro-acoustic design, and audio forensics. He is a consultant with – and the owner of – EBB-consult, an Audio Specialist with DPA Microphones and an Associate Professor with the Danish National School of Performing Arts. Eddy is the author of several textbooks on audio of which “Audio Metering” published by Focal Press is one. 


Acoustic Compositions - – A Search for Articulated Relations between Humans, Materials and Environments

Isak Worre Foged, Professor at Royal Danish Academy

Open workspaces are typically structured with a myriad of material-geometric variations, including formalised architectural elements of windows, walls, ceiling, floor and interiors and informal elements of personal objects and people! Through a small open office case study, the relations and dynamics between these elements are explored through computed versioning of material-geometric compositions coupled with view/acoustic feedback. The study and presentation investigate and illustrate the inherent complexity of the problem and an instrumental early-phase design method and model that can be employed in various open office environments.

Bio: An architect and engineer by training, Professor Isak Worre Foged conducts research and teaching at The Royal Danish Academy, where he leads the Cluster for Material Studies. Isak obtained his MSc.Eng.Arch. and PhD. from Aalborg University, his M.Arch from UIC, Barcelona and some of his PhD studies from GSAPP, Columbia University. Isak’s research is focused on investigating and developing new dynamic relations between materials, humans and specific environments, where thermal and acoustic phenomena are of particular focus. 


One size doesn't fit all! How to design for various needs in open-plan offices

Marianne Lykkesfeldt, Space Commander, Laika Rumdesign

Open office design is a delicate discipline, and too many offices are designed based on a “one size fits all”- approach. A successful workplace design requires catering to various needs and preferences and understanding the human brain and behavior. The talk will unfold the potential of open-plan offices and address some of the myths and the most significant misunderstandings.  

Bio: Marianne holds a Cand. Arch. From the Royal Danish Academy and is currently heading the room design Projects for Laika. In 2010 LAIKA Rumdesign was founded to create life in space because Space Matters. 




HR & Spaces

Katrine Brixen Bojesen, Head of Administration, DTU Construct

From the HR perspective, many considerations must be made when planning for – and organizing – workspaces: on the level of the individual employee, the group, and the organization. The starting point is to know people. What makes them most comfortable in their daily work? Who can work side by side? Who can’t? Are there individuals with specific demands? The main thing is to acknowledge that people are different – also when it comes to acoustic spaces. Bringing many people to the same room does not make them alike.





Small break



Acoustical parameters for open plan offices according to ISO 3382-3 and how to make sense of them

Jens Holger Rindel, Founder & Senior Researcher, Odeon A/S

The international standard ISO 3382-3:2022 (2nd revised edition) defines a number of measurable room acoustic parameters for objectively evaluating the acoustics of open-plan offices. The main challenge is that the acoustics cannot be handled as a simple noise control problem, and the reverberation time is not particularly useful. In the talk, the relevance of the various ISO parameters will be discussed, and room acoustic parameter studies will be used to enlighting the combined effect of background noise, screens, and sound-absorbing surfaces.

Bio: Jens holds a PhD in Acoustics from DTU. Jens initiated the cooperation between DTU (Department of Acoustic Technology) and a group of consulting companies in 1984 with the purpose of providing reliable prediction software for room acoustics. In 2007 he left his position as Professor at the university to concentrate on consultancy and Odeon A/S, where he was the managing director up until February 2012. 


A holistic approach to acoustic design of open offices – ISO 22955

Morten Roar Berg, Business relations manager at Saint-Gobain Denmark

About 70 percent of office workers are dissatisfied with the acoustic conditions in their place of work. There are several likely reasons for the persistence of office noise problems, but one stands out in particular – open offices are very complex sound environments and it has proven hard to design them from an acoustic standpoint. The new ISO 22955 provides clear holistic instructions and target values for high-quality acoustic design based on a wide range of typical office activities. The talk will touch on the issue of visual orientation in design and give a brief introduction to topics of ISO 22955.

Bio: Morten holds an MSc in Audio design from Aarhus University and has contributed to acoustic design processes in well over a 100 projects in all scopes, going from the villa’s to masterplans. His is specialized in integration of visual and acoustic considerations in the design process. A topic that is often cited as the one the primary reasons for the issues of noise in society today. By using sound, stories and real life examples Morten has managed to turn many people into sound enthusiasts through his frequent talks and lectures.





Coffee break


16:35 - 17:00


Visualisation of noise in office environments affects employee behaviour and reduces noise nuisance

Lars Boldt Rasmussen, CEO, SoundEar A/S

When it comes to lowering noise levels in open office spaces, becoming aware of your own noise level makes a difference. That is one of the findings from a scientific research project in the Danish financial firm, Danske Bank. Whether it is a work-related debate that is heating up, or you are exchanging pleasantries about your week end with the person sitting next to you, it can become interrupting noise for the rest of your office – and might not even be aware of it. To help eradicate noise nuisance, SoundEar, Jabra and FORCE Technology (formed DELTA) collaborated  to develop a completely system that visualises the noise in an office for the purposes of helping the employees to change their behaviour. SoundEar is a Danish company that provides innovative noise visualization technology for a variety of settings. Founded in 1998, SoundEar has become a leader in its field and continues to help individuals and organizations better understand the impact of noise on health and well-being, and to make informed decisions about their acoustic environment.

Michael Hoby, Audio Lead at EPOS audio

Bio: Michael has a background in Music, Audio Engineering and Interaction Design, and has been working in various roles in headset design for the past 20 years.

Lars B. Rasmussen

Michael Hoby


Keeping voices down in virtual meetings

By Eddy Bøgh Brixen, consultant, EBB-consult

About virtual meetings and the application of headsets. Usually, people level their voices depending on the acoustic feedback to their ears. The system developed by Jabra/GN DK feeds back the user’s own voice at a level that makes them speak at a low level. It is a simple function; however, its very efficient in the office environment


Noise masking 2.0 using constellation electro acoustic system

Anders Jørgensen, CTO, Stouenborg A/S

Based on the Constellation system and its option for noise masking 2.0, the possibilities for using electroacoustic in an open office plan are described. The Constellation system picks up the speech noise in the office, breaks it down, reassembles it and creates a natural but incomprehensible masking noise using the Constellation system’s algorithm. Privacy is high and noise levels are below any Lombard effect. The system is primarily used in restaurants to create privacy and work is being done on the use of Constellation in open plan offices. The system should not be confused with traditional noise masking systems (which are not recommended to be used).





Drinks, snacks and informal networking


 If you have questions about signing up? Please contact Murielle De Smedt at : 

Sign up for this in-person event

When you participate in this event, your time will be used as co-financing for the project Innovationskraft, which is funded by the Danish Business Promotion Board and the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science at a standard rate. Read more about Innovationskraft 

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