Insights on Acoustic Design with Wick Wolfe

Written by: Hayley Arsenault for Interior Design

An industry leader in decorative, sound absorptive, and diffusive acoustic solutions, Unika Vaev’s narrative unfolds as a tale of transformation, where the threads of the past intricately intertwine to weave a vibrant tapestry of artful designs. Established in 1975, it began its journey with a focus on textiles but swiftly evolved to pioneer decorative acoustic solutions. Today, Unika Vaev stands at the intersection of its distinguished textile legacy and innovative acoustic ingenuity.

The Vika Collection, designed by Khodi Feiz, exemplifies Unika Vaev’s commitment to redefining how we experience and interact with our environments through sculptural floor screens and ceiling light fixtures that combine artistry with functionality. Vika emanates a soft, ambient glow while effectively managing both low and high-frequency noise levels. This recently introduced collection allows for the transformation of larger spaces into more intimate areas, enhancing the overall soundscape and creating a quieter atmosphere. 

In this interview, Wick Wolfe, president of Unika Vaev, emphasizes the crucial role of acoustics in modern environments and highlights the details of their latest launch.

collage of thin acoustic lighted floor screens in several colors

Interior Design: Tell us a bit about why it’s important for designers to pay special attention to acoustics. 

Wick Wolfe: In today’s work environments, the importance of acoustics cannot be overstated. The integration of effective acoustic solutions is paramount in interior design. A well thought out acoustic plan enhances concentration, privacy, and overall employee well-being, which are critical factors for productivity. With the continued use of open-plan offices and collaborative spaces, managing sound through high-quality acoustic materials and design innovation is essential. Unika Vaev’s commitment to acoustic excellence ensures that interior designers are equipped with the tools to create environments that not only look great but also promote acoustic comfort, making every space a harmonious blend of form and function. This attention to detail in acoustics reflects our understanding of the evolving needs of today’s workers and our dedication to enhancing their work experience.

ID: What are some creative ways to integrate acoustic panels into interiors? 

WW: Unika Vaev’s acoustic solutions seamlessly blend into modern interiors. Our solutions serve both as functional sound absorbers and artistic statement pieces. Imagine them as interactive surfaces in retail spaces or sleek ceiling installations with lighting in corporate offices. In educational settings, they transform into colorful shapes that inspire creativity while reducing noise. By integrating our acoustic solutions, designers achieve a balance of style and tranquility, creating spaces that exemplify acoustic excellence and aesthetic elegance. Our bold and imaginative products provide a canvas for designers to redefine the sensory experience of any interior.

detail of top and base of acoustic lighted floor screen

ID: How can designers benefit from making use of Unika Vaev’s Custom Solutions? 

WW: Unika Vaev’s vast collection of sound absorbing materials and comprehensive custom design studio skills support any design vision presented to us. Often, a designer or an end user will have a design criterion of what they want to achieve, which may be a specific look or an overall idea that requires interpretation to help them meet their end goal of creating a beautiful space. Unika Vaev’s team of designers and engineers is uniquely qualified to achieve the vision of the designer or the end user. The process couldn’t be easier! You provide the design brief, and we’ll partner with you to create a solution — with plenty of opportunities for your review and feedback along the way. The opportunities are limitless. 

ID: Can you tell us about the new Vika Collection designed by Khodi Feiz for Abstracta?

WW: The Vika Collection, designed by Khodi Feiz, merges artistry and functionality seamlessly. It serves as both a sculptural floor screen and an elegant ceiling light fixture, offering options with or without integrated lighting. Emitting a soft, ambient glow, Vika adeptly manages noise levels while reimagining larger spaces into intimate areas. Available in two dimensional versions—a smaller, oblong one resembling a light pillar and a larger room divider—Vika is available in four colorways. Lighter colors provide brighter light, while darker hues offer more subdued lighting, making it ideal for open-plan offices, co-working spaces, and lobbies.

beige acoustic lighted ceiling fixtures above a countertop

ID: What does sustainable acoustic design look like to Unika Vaev? 

WW: Our commitment extends to sustainable & eco-friendly materials and manufacturing in our acoustic collection. Unika Vaev has always been at the pinnacle of the sustainability story since the inception of our acoustic product collection. In addition to meeting a wide range of sustainability criteria, we are also proud to have been awarded the Cradle-to-Cradle Certification for Unika Vaev’s acoustic Solid Core Panels and all products made with Ecoustic® Solid Core Felt Panels. Unika Vaev is actively developing products using biophilic design as a basis for future products to be introduced later in 2024. Unika Vaev recognizes that biophilic design is critically important as sustainability criteria increase in importance globally. All Unika Vaev acoustic products achieve multiple sustainability ratings both nationally and internationally, and those ratings can be viewed on our website.