An ergonomic sound experience

The separate, soundproof audio studio with the IN free-to-move task chair was put in the middle of the open-plan office and special features were added, such as an acoustic panel on the table and sound-damping wall components. Photo: Sennheiser / Gehri AG

People are usually irritated by bothersome noise in offices and workspaces. Noise pollution has a detrimental effect on performance and contentment – particularly in open-plan offices. We quickly find the noise level in open-plan offices distracting, especially when we can hear and understand what others are saying around us. Studies prove that acoustics play a key role in terms of moods. Which is why any investment in acoustics makes employees happier, healthier, more focused and therefore more productive.

The Sennheiser Innovation LAB is located in a protected historical factory building that dates back to the turn of the 19th century. Photo: Sennheiser / Gehri AG

By collaborating with acoustics specialists and designers at Gehri AG, Sennheiser built its Innovation LAB in Zurich in November 2019. The goal was to create a perfect audio experience hub where new, immersive 3D sound systems are analysed, tested and developed. The result is a soundproof audio studio called the AMBEO room, which is located in the middle of the open-plan office and doesn’t have a negative impact on the people working around it. A room-in-room design principle makes the space fully soundproof; flooring that’s totally separate from the rest of the building means that even impact sound noise is prevented.

Flexible to use and easy to configure thanks to Wilkhahn furniture. The meeting room with the stackable Aline chair and the mobile Timetable tables, which are assembled here for a conference. Photo: Sennheiser / Gehri AG

The Sennheiser Innovation LAB is located in a protected historical factory building that dates back to the turn of the 19th century. The high ceilings and some exposed brick walls emphasise the industrial charm. The pillars, based on the existing design, also structure the spacious and light-flooded open-plan office. Multipurpose creative zones alternate with laid-back meeting spaces and high-quality areas where people can relax and recharge their batteries. Each room has its own design concept:

To make maximum use of the conference room, the designers picked an especially mobile Wilkhahn duo, the Timetable conference table and stackable Aline chair (both designed by Andreas Störiko). These stand apart for their easy set-up and stacking/nesting capabilities, making them ideal for dynamic conference types and agile work styles. As a result, co-workers are encouraged to join in by setting up the furniture themselves and space and time are also saved, aspects that quickly pay dividends for a company like Sennheiser.

With its distinctive cut-out section in the seat shell, the upholstered Occo task chair is comfortable and has an airy look. Photo: Sennheiser / Gehri AG

Another meeting room features the the dark grey upholstered version with five-star base frame and castors from the Wilkhahn Occo multipurpose chair range (Design jehs+laub), which blends in well with the interior designers’ concept. The swivel-mounted and mobile conference chair is perfect for longer meetings. Its distinctive cut-out section in the seat shell lends it an airy look and its organic form conveys a sense of wellbeing. And what’s more, the cut-out section makes the chair comfortably elastic and flexible.

The unique free-to-move capability makes Wilkhahn’s IN chair perfect for people who need to focus at their desks. Photo: Sennheiser / Gehri

In terms of design and ergonomics, the setting is enhanced by the free-to-move task chair IN, which is used in the Innovation LAB several times. It’s encountered behind the reception counter, at desks and in the audio studio – anywhere where people sit for long periods of time and need to concentrate. After all, with its unique free-to-move concept, Wilkhahn taught sitting to walk, so to speak. Patented technology used in the chairs here ensures that the slightest shifts in weight are translated in movements and keeps joints and muscles stimulated. In particular, it’s the muscle groups that are typically static when people sit for long periods of time that are stimulated, therefore preventing the sort of backache caused by sitting.

Reasons for picking Wilkhahn furniture for the interior design concept, were given by David Bernet from design studio Gehri AG as follows:

We collaborated with the design team at Sennheiser Switzerland to come up with a simple, laid-back workspace, which integrates respectfully with the protected historical site from the turn of the 19th century. The fluid, understated lines of the designs by jehs+laub make the Occo chair an excellent choice for the new office’s design concept. The sophisticated functionality of the IN chairs and Timetable tables, as well as the lightweight, superbly stackable Aline chair range, are impressive for their comfort and the required flexibility.

David Bernet, creative director at Gehri AG

The result is an Innovation LAB in Zurich, which, in addition to the acoustics specifications, also meets design and ergonomic requirements thanks to the Wilkhahn furniture. That’s truly music to the ears!


Click here to visit the Gehri AG website (german).

Click here to visit the Sennheiser website.


You can find all the info about the Wilkhahn furniture chosen here:

Conference table Timetable

Occo chair

Free-to-move office chair IN

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