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Open Offices Bring Acoustic Issues

Open Offices Bring Acoustic Issues

With the onset of the open office and shared spaces comes great efficiency and improved collaboration, but also brings acoustic issues. 

Acoustics are the science of sound control, addressing the reflection of noise between and around spaces. Very rudimentary sound waves act like a ping pong ball in a space, rebounding off hard surfaces. Ideal reverberation time, referred to as T60, signifies the time it takes for sound to fade by 60dB (decibels) within an enclosed space. The faster the fade, the better it is. r.o.i. Design approaches the issues of acoustics in most jobs where we consider absorbing, blocking, covering or diffusing sound.


The absorption coefficient of materials controls how much sound reverberates when they hit those materials—a higher coefficient means they absorb more sound. Therefore, absorptive objects reduce ambient noise. A favorite solution is one that also adds design are decorative baffles made from felt, wood, or fabric.  



The amount of sound blocked by a wall or other obstacle is called sound transmission loss—or attenuation. For example, screens, panels, and doors also help block sound from traveling between spaces. r.o.i. Design often adds partitions and window coverings to block sound. 


If you can’t absorb or block sound, you might have to cover it. Carpets and acoustical ceilings, as well as efficient HVAC systems, can conceal sound and lower background noise levels. A popular solution is sound masking technology, much like a sound system that is designed to create a consistent pitch to cover other sounds. 


In some environments, proper acoustics involve scattering sound uniformly throughout the space, in other words, diffusion. Too much absorption makes it difficult to transmit noise properly— for example, people may need to hear others talking over a long distance.  Back to the ping pong ball, imagine it trying to bound off a textured wood wall; the bound is diffused.  

While r.o.i. Design is not acousticians, we are very capable of specifying products that absorb, cover, block, and diffuse. For projects that we added acoustic solutions, click on the links below: 

Mailoux Dentistry

Cedar Animal Hospital

Notions Marketing

Funky Buddah 

Lifestream Church

    The Role of LED Lighting in Interior Design

    The Role of LED Lighting in Interior Design

    With the introduction of LED* lighting over ten years ago, the world of lighting and lighting design has exploded. Now, more than 80% of all lighting is LED. This is mostly because of their high efficiency and low power consumption as compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED doesn’t just allow for creative light fixtures but also expands the possibilities in lighting solutions and environmental control.

    One outcome is the ability to control the light’s color, imitating a variety of experiences. That color temperature is measured by Kelvins. Low numbers are warmer, and high numbers are cooler. To make something feel “homey” we use lower numbers. When we need a clinical effect, we use higher numbers. Have you ever heard someone say, “It feels like a hospital in here!”. That is likely because the space has a high Kelvin measurement when it needs to be lower. Interior designers can match the environment to the Kelvin for the most comfortable experience.

    Another aspect of LED lighting is size and flexibility. Since the lumens come from a chip, that small chip can be put into a variety of housings, making it easier to find lighting for every situation; whether its architectural, theatrical, or practical (see photos of examples).

    At r.o.i. Design, we work with lighting engineers to assist in specifying fixtures along with their colors and lumens. We used to use a measurement called foot-candles to describe the amount of light in a room. Now the industry uses lumens, specifically lux, which is one lumen per square meter. Not only is the color of light important, but its brightness is critical in creating comfort for the user.  

    Interior design is highly affected by light. All finishes look very different depending on the color of the light. We can be leaders in interior design by providing expertise in lighting design. 

    (*) LED stands for light emitting diode. LED lighting products produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs. How do they work?  An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LED, and the result is visible light.

    Below are some examples of interesting LED lighting we have used on recent jobs. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

      Third Coast Oral Surgery Improves Customer Experience

      Third Coast Oral Surgery Improves Customer Experience

      A returning customer, Third Coast Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, called us to help plan for an improved checkout experience for their patients. This meant planning and designing a small addition and reconfiguration of some rooms. Dr. Niquette, owner of Third Coast, has a very contemporary taste and r.o.i. Design tried to create a unique look with metal panel fronts and colorful metal posts. The check-in desk has some perforated metal and we wanted there to be a connection in materials.

      The checkout desk is the place where transactions happen and appointments are made, so there needed to be more privacy than what they could offer at the reception check-in desk.

      First Companies Inc., who built the building, managed this remodel and the outcome is spectacular.

        Animal Emergency Hospital, Part Two 

        Animal Emergency Hospital, Part Two 

        We were honored to be the interior designers for the first new Animal Emergency Hospital in Byron Center in 2022. They had an older location on Plainfield in Grand Rapids, but the space looked tired and couldn’t compare with the new facility. The plan was to build a new hospital next door to the Plainfield location, and that dream came true when they moved into the new facility in February, 2024. r.o.i. Design worked with First Companies and Dr. Marilyn Brink, as we did the first time for the Byron Center location.

        The plan for the Plainfield location was a flipped-flopped and mirrored version of the Byron Center location’s plan, due to site conditions, but it includes all these aspects that we so enjoy:

        • Large-scale black-and-white photos of dogs, cats, iguanas, birds, guinea pigs, and so much more.
        • Soaring tall ceiling in the lobby softened by “clouds” of acoustical materials and strip lighting.
        • Shiplap wood walls.
        • Metal-faced reception desk.
        • Half-walls in the waiting room with silhouettes of animals.

        We hope that none of our animal friends will make an emergency stop at either location, so we are sharing some photos that give you a sense of the interior. And if you do have to stop, you will be in great hands in a great space 

        Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images.

        © Photos Courtesy of First Companies, Inc.

         For more of our medical projects click here

        Current Trends in Senior Living

        Current Trends in Senior Living

        There has been a change in how we think about senior living over the past 10 years. The aging baby boomer generation is influencing this change. It’s predicted that in the next several years there will be more people over 65 than children. As the baby boomers age, more and more are looking to make the move to a senior living community. This group of people is more active than in past generations and holds greater expectations of their living experience.  Because they are planning ahead, the process of selecting their retirement community is more well thought out and thorough. Research has shown that up to 5 communities will be visited before making the final decision. Their new home must check all the boxes. Updated furniture and finishes can ensure a good first impression is made and boost the marketability of any community, whether it’s a new construction or an established facility.

        The following should be considered when designing a senior living community:  

        • Finishes should look like home, incorporating residential-type finishes with senior living durability. Vibrant, fresh, approachable spaces that bring people together and foster a sense of community. 
        • Flexible gathering areas that draw residents from their rooms and can accommodate larger groups when necessary. Spots for crafts, games, and other activities that promote socialization are amenities today’s seniors are looking for. A sense of community ranks highly with today’s seniors. Chairs that can stack and tables for crafts and puzzles that fold for storage enhance the flexibility and function.  
        • Connection to the outdoors. Natural light, plants, and large-scale artwork that depicts views of nature foster that important connection with nature for residents who aren’t able to get out as easily. 
        • Wellness-focused spaces promoting engagement and activity.   
        • The formal dining room is being revamped to add flexibility, better serving the needs of the residents. A more modern dining space provides a place to gather with friends for a cup of coffee or a casual chat. This area has become the social hub, and those social connections are crucial to maintaining cognitive function and overall well-being.  
        • Staff attraction and retention is an important consideration as well. Providing a comfortable place for staff to work, and as a recharge, should be planned for. 

        Have a project in mind? We would love to hear about it! r.o.i. Design provides full-service design and FF&E services. We have access to numerous resources that can provide beautiful and functional furnishings for all budgets. Additionally, we will consult with you on space planning and allocation to meet the changing needs of today’s senior living residents. We will also help balance input from ownership, management, and staff when designing the space and furnishings.

        Contact us to discuss ways we can help.  

        Mailloux Dentistry: A New Location for Smiles to Begin 

        Mailloux Dentistry: A New Location for Smiles to Begin 

        At first glance, Mailloux Dentistry could be mistaken for a spa. It’s certainly a place where beauty is valued.

        Dr. Brittany Mailloux and partner Dr. Caitlynn Haas are licensed general practitioners in dentistry and offer a full menu of dental services. What sets them apart is their attention to the beauty and aesthetics of the smile. They are a family dentistry where adult and child patients receive the same attention.

        r.o.i. Design met Dr. Mailloux along with her husband, Dr. Kevin Kross, who owns Blueprint Dental. They are not partners in dentistry but did decide to purchase the building that they now share. This allowed them to have a state-of-the-art lab that they both use. And while they are married, the two practices look completely different.

        We spent hours at Brittany and Kevin’s home where we met their children (as well as dogs, ponies, and horses) to make decisions. We were influenced by their hospitality and kindness in the design of Mailloux Dentistry.

        The lobby of the space has many curves. The reception desk, bulkheads, ceiling accents, accent tiles, and many more elements all incorporate curvilinear shapes. The intention was to make their patients feel welcome and relaxed. Inside the reception bulkhead are wood baffles that enhance the coziness of the space.

        The overall color scheme includes gold, warm white, pink, and gray. The elegance of the lobby chandeliers and the waiting room furniture are paired with a carpet that looks handmade. The vinyl flooring (LVT) in the exam rooms has accents of gold in a light parquet wood floor look.

        On this project, we were honored to also design their new logo. We came up with numerous concepts and refined them down to the final product. We also provided and branding standards document so they could use their new logo to its full potential.

        The lobby and reception furniture were also provided by r.o.i. Design. It is always wonderful to be able to finish a design we start down to these details.

        © Photos Courtesy of First Companies, Inc.

         For more of our dental and medical projects click here