Blog: Through the looking glass

Open-plan office environments are good for staff morale, can increase productivity and make good use of smaller spaces. But how can practical concerns over privacy and acoustics be overcome? Simon Boocock, Managing Director of C. R Laurence of Europe, looks at glass partitions as an effective solution.

The trend towards open-plan office environments is on the rise and a quick look at the many advantages of such spaces makes it easy to see why this should be the case. From a design perspective firstly, they make effective use of available floor space and give the illusion of light and depth in compact situations. Furthermore, open plan offices are also popular because of the greater level of integration and their all-inclusive nature. In fact, research on the topic even suggests that open-plan office environments help colleagues work more collaboratively, enhance the feeling of team spirit and result in greater levels of productivity.

However, such spaces are not without their drawbacks, most of them from a practical viewpoint. Large expanses of space with lots of people in them tend to be noisy and lack privacy. What is required is a way of creating partitions and zoning specific areas, creating quiet areas and improving the overall acoustics, without losing any of the benefits that an open-plan office brings.

Glass partitions are increasingly being specified as a successful solution, creating a high-end aesthetic while also being a highly practical way of creating a bright, spacious working environment and enhancing the office’s acoustics. They can also be used to form inner offices, creating a sense of privacy for meetings while still enabling those willing to integrate with the wider office.

For specifiers and installers, the good news is that, with the right systems, such partitions are straightforward to fit, even retrospectively enabling the open-plan space to be easily adapted to suit changing requirements.

One such system is the Langle Office Partition range from CRL. The range includes a standard and a XL option, both offering a creative and effective solution for modern interior designs. The standard dry-glazed system provides a maximum transparency and an elegant appearance thanks to its thin, powder-coated profiles available in a satin anodised or brushed nickel finish. The profiles can be fixed to ceilings, floors, walls and door frames for a complete look, are suitable for 8 to 16mm monolithic toughened glass or laminated glass and are supplied with EPDM fixing gaskets available in black or grey.

The Office Partition System makes installation quick and easy, enabling the feeling of openness and light created by large glazed walls simple to achieve in practically any space.

The height of hinged doors can be easily adjusted and the doors can be installed in mounted ceiling profiles in wall-to-glass or glass-to-glass applications. Even floor-to-ceiling doors can be mounted, if desired. The system effectively closes the gaping joint between the glass door, side panel and top light and is acoustically viable too. CRL offers a choice of high-quality door hinges, latches, and handle sets to complete the installation.

With all the benefits of the standard system, the Office XL system includes acoustic benefits as it can also accommodate 28mm thick insulating glass, which insulates sound up to 42dB, allowing people to work undisturbed by noise around them.

To help with the glass panel installation, the CRL Vacuum Ratchet Tensioning Kit enables the glass panels to be easily placed and pulled together. With no silicone sealant required, a clean and neat finish is achieved with polycarbonate joints that simply clip on the glass. Suitable for 180°, 135° and 90° abutment joints, T-connections and corner joints, the Office Partition System from CRL creates the impression of maximum transparency in interior design.

Such solutions overcome any practical challenges in open-plan office environments, creating an upmarket and productive ambience where colleagues can work in harmony.

For further information call 01706 863600, email crl(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)crlaurence.co.uk, or visit www.crlaurence.co.uk