Offices are notoriously loud and distracting places, and the noise of others has long been a chief complaint among employees. The key to a quieter office may be hiding inside a can of potato chips. BuzziSpace, a Belgian furniture, acoustics, and lighting company, has just unveiled its latest line of acoustic panels and lights for offices, and according to founder and CEO Steve Symons, the design was “inspired by the playful curved shape of the classic Pringles chip.”
The fabric-covered foam panels, which do indeed look like giant floating Pringles chips, are meant to hover above desks, conference rooms, and reception areas in offices. Optional pendant lights provide illumination, while the arched Pringles chip shape both traps sound and reflects light.
“When designing the new acoustic light, we wanted to create a product that not only absorbed an excessive amount of sound but also created an ambient amount of light for the workplace,” Symons explained via email. The potato chip offered a solution. “The whimsical curve and voluminous body help achieve both those things.”
The curved panels are made of honeycomb foam, and come in three different lengths. They can be upholstered in a range of fabrics and colors. Symons says that the parabolic shape of the panels enables them to absorb mid, low, and high frequencies, though there are more effective sound-absorption panels on the market. And technically, the shape doesn’t exactly follow the stackably precise geometry of the Pringles chip, a saddle-like shape known as a hyperbolic paraboloid.
For BuzziSpace, the design wasn’t intended to replicate the shape of the classic chip or even to be the best possible sound absorber. The more important goal was to make a statement. “We don’t want to design products that blend into their surroundings,” Symons says.