Optimized Acoustics in Collaborative Office Spaces
Plexxis Software Reflects Innovative Culture with High-Performance and Modern Aesthetic Using Rockfon Ceiling Systems.
Plexxis Software creates innovative technology for the walls and ceilings industry and other specialty trades. All solutions are designed on a powerful single-source Oracle database with purpose-driven features for estimating, project management, accounting, mobile and business intelligence.
Attracting and retaining its high-tech talent, Plexxis recently opened a new head office in Brampton, Ontario. Completed in late 2018, the 25,000-square-foot facility features a contemporary, open design. Amenities for its 75 employees include an outdoor patio with a grill, an indoor exercise area with a basketball court, and an employee lounge with a kitchenette, movie theater and game room.
Reflecting Plexxis’ innovative culture and its office’s high performance, modern aesthetic, Rockfon acoustic stone wool ceiling products were installed throughout Plexxis’ new building.
For its Ontario headquarters, Plexxis contracted Sesco Design Build Inc., “to provide a full turn-key service—design, permits, buildout, etc. All design was done in-house,” says Sesco Group’s Project Manager Domenic DeFrancesco, HBA.
“This space was part of the new flagship look of their re-branding process,” he explains.
“During the design of the space, we worked closely with their Chief Strategy Officer, Robin Schleien, who has terrific insight and knowledge of design content throughout the space and how it indirectly reflects the strategic branding of the company. This made the project very exciting for our team to be part of such a big step forward in our client’s future growth.”
Schleien describes, “Understanding the northern Ontario, dairy farming roots of our founders, it was particularly important to create a space that exuded warmth, while enabling quality work in an inviting, fun environment … quite a challenge to strike just the right tone!”
“From the initial design to completion of construction, we found a complete end-to-end solution with Sesco,” praises Chris Loranger, chief executive officer at Plexxis.
Sesco Design Build’s project scope included responsibility for all of the ceiling design, layout and specification. DeFrancesco notes, “All of the ceiling systems were specified by Sesco with the assistance of Ryan (Hillier-Spurr at Arrlin Acoustic Supply Inc.) and Rockfon.”
Sesco and Arrlin have worked together for more than 20 years on large office buildings to small office renovations and much more, according to Hillier-Spurr. Many of these projects have included Rockfon’s Chicago Metallic suspension systems and, more recently, the acoustic stone wool ceiling products.
DeFrancesco adds, “These products are always our standard spec in all our design-build projects.”
“To look after the drywall and acoustics scope for the project,” DeFrancesco says, Sesco Design Build hired Sesco Interiors Inc. “There was no specific NRC ratings, or sound engineer required, but several areas needed to be addressed to some degree.” A member of the Drywall, Acoustic Lathing & Insulation, Local 675 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Sesco Interiors also installed the ceiling system throughout Plexxis’ new office.
“Plexxis has an extraordinarily vibrant culture—encouraging constant discussion and collaboration,” elaborates Jason Fraser co-founder and chief operations officer at Plexxis. “In planning a space designed around large open areas flanked by meeting facilities, social areas and offices; effective sound isolation was a crucial factor in ensuring working comfort and a productive environment.”
DeFrancesco continues, “In the general office area, NRC was very important, so we used the tegular edge Rockfon Artic ceiling tiles. In the large game room/lunchroom, we had to ensure some type of sound absorptive product was used; we specified and used Rockfon Island panels.”
“The change from the more traditional, acoustical ceiling in the office areas to the openness of the exposed plenum and suspended Islands in the break/recreation rooms provides a visual queue that separates work effort from relaxation, while maintaining the necessary acoustic control throughout,” says Rockfon’s Acoustics Specialist Gary Madaras, Ph.D.
Economically priced, Artic acoustical ceiling tiles were installed in the hallways, kitchenette and throughout the majority of the offices. These 2-by-2-foot panels were suspended within Chicago Metallic 4600 Ultraline, a 9/16-inch exposed grid ceiling system with stab-end cross tees that are seismically rated.
The tiles not only provide a professional impression and good sound absorption, they also support high light reflection. The bright white, smooth surface of the ceiling panels reflects up to 85 percent of the light that hits them. Within the main office area, enclosed offices are positioned against exterior full-height walls and feature windows. The interior walls and doors are floor-to-ceiling glass to further maximize both the electric light fixtures and the available daylight.
Like Artic, Island ceiling products also provide a very high light reflectance, an aesthetically-pleasing, modern appearance and excellent sound absorption. Acoustic performance was key in supporting functionality and comfort in the employee lounge.
The Breakroom of Our Dreams
More than just a lunchroom, the lounge serves as a community room with a movie screen, pool tables and arcade games for employees. As conversations and friendly competition increase in volume, each voice grows louder to be heard and causes the overall noise level to escalate. Island ceiling products absorb sound to improve the acoustic experience without diminishing the energetic camaraderie.
“A very large, open concept design, Islands provided a modern, acoustic solution and unique ceiling design for the employee lounge. It blends with the space. It is not a distraction, but rather a piece of art in itself,” observes Rockfon’s Architectural Sales Manager for Ontario, Isabelle Champagne, CTR.
Balancing the multiple performance and aesthetic considerations, DeFrancesco proudly states, “This project ran very smoothly, and any change in design, engineering, etc., our team and the owners of Plexxis were very flexible and accommodating to make the change and keep moving forward with the project.” He adds that the project was completed on time and delivered within budget even with additional upgrades added by the owners.
“We’ve actually been quite surprised as to how much impact the ceiling system had in achieving our end goal,” concludes Schleien. “We’re thrilled with the outcome to say the least!”
Plexxis’ headquarters now is home to nearly 100 dedicated team members, and an elite client advisory group of top performing wall and ceiling contractors.