Behind the Design Process Part 2: Talking Hyper Sonic with Michael DiTullo

Behind the Design Process Part 2: Talking Hyper Sonic with Michael DiTullo

By Alexis Wagman

This is the second part of our conversation with Michael DiTullo, Head of Product Innovations at Carnegie Acoustic Solutions about the latest launch. Designing a collection of products is certainly always a challenge, but Michael and his team revolutionized acoustic design with the first ever launch from CAS, consisting of nine new acoustic offerings from both Xorel Artform and Kirei. In this three part interview, we get a deeper look into the process of designing the Hyper Sonic collection from the viewpoint of the creator, as well as special industry insights.

Michael DiTullo in his home office, showcasing the sustainability message of the Hyper Sonic Collection.

How did the name of this collection, Hyper Sonic come to fruition? Can you take us through that process and was there an overarching theme that inspired the design and name?

With this collection we were really pushing the boundaries of what we had done in the past. With the new Xorel Artform products we went deeper with 3D elements, we went bigger, we added more. With the Kirei products we were using more repetitive elements to increase the geometry and the amount of material to make the products perform better. As the products developed this almost aerospace inspiration started to emerge with the wing like structures of the Kirei products and taunt forms of the Xorel Artform line and it struck me that we were really pushing the sound barrier, if you’ll excuse the pun. And so Hyper Sonic just hit me one day.

Materials palette showcasing Xorel and the Contour Tile

What were the specific industry insights or market feedback that drove the design and sustainability innovation noted in this new collection?

“Clever” is a keyword for us. We are always looking for clever ways to be smarter about materials. Not only is our PET made from recycled content, but we want to be smart with how we use it. The Cypher panel for example, the raised strips are actually cut from the end of the panel, so each Cypher unit is a single PET panel with no waste. With the Contour Tile the 4th layer is actually cut from the 2nd layer, the 3rd layer is cut from the 1st layer. This creates a lot more efficiency and less waste and also creates air pockets in the product that help break down longer sound waves so the product performs better. From a pure form perspective this is definitely one of our more dramatic launches and we were pushing the manufacturing team to go deeper with 3D elements on Artform to create more light play throughout the day. Similarly with the Hyperfly Baffle and Cloud the repetitive organic forms cause a lot of light and shadow within the product. A simple innovation we introduced with the new Artform tiles is that they are all modular, so Rise, Range, and Slope can all be used together. It is a simple thing but that is the kind of system thinking we bring to products. We also pushed scale. We have never experimented with a 3D Xorel Artform product as large as Drape. The size is literally defined by how big we could make it! The result is very dramatic on the wall.  A common theme with all the new products is they really change as the day progresses from morning to afternoon as the light plays across them. I’m not sure if anyone else is thinking that way in our product space.

This is the first launch of Carnegie Acoustic Solutions. What sets this collection apart from the previous launches from both Xorel Artform and Kirei and how is this brand forming a united front in the acoustics space?

This was our first opportunity to show how the Kirei and Artform products can work together to create more harmonious spaces. Having both PET products and Xorel textile products together is game-changing for designers, it allows them to spec products more easily, create color palettes, and just gives them a single point of contact with more options. We really wanted to show the power of these two brands working together. Aside from that this was my first chance to design new Artform products and I couldn’t wait to see what we could do together there!

Can you speak to the inspiring aesthetic choices and details you’ve made in this collection? How do these potentially impact acoustics and designers specifying them?

This collection follows our Level Up launch which was more everyday products like wall panels and screens. With Hyper Sonic I really wanted to go where we hadn’t gone before with bolder, more iconic forms and repetitive shapes that play with light. We never do things just for aesthetics though. All of this increased geometry helps increase the acoustic performance of this collection by adding more material into the space and breaking up soundwaves. I was inspired by softer, more organic shapes that evoke comfort paired with a warmer, more muted color palette. With the color palette I wanted to show how we can respond to the cozier color themes that are trending across two very different materials, PET and Xorel, and make it all just sing together perfectly.

Detail shot of the layers of the Contour Tile.

One of the biggest trials specifiers are up against when choosing an acoustic product is the amount of misinformation in the industry. Designers ultimately want to make sure they’re making the correct choices for the project and their client - How does this collection and CAS (both Xorel Artform and Kirei) alleviate those concerns?

One of the most amazing things about working in the architecture acoustics category is that I get to design products for other designers to work with themselves. It’s always amazing to see what designers do with the products that we work with.  I see my role as trying to hopefully showcase what the possibilities are so that you can create spaces for your clients that blow them away. The flip side of that is that there's a lot of competition and misinformation out there in terms of what acoustic products can and can't do and how sustainably they’re made. We really try to go the extra mile to deliver on the promise that when we tell you something is made as sustainably as we can make it, you know that we have thought of sustainability from every angle. For example, the contour tile was made with no extra hardware material, and the PET itself has a very high level of recycled content. That means that not only is the base material sustainable, but we also decided to design it in such a way that the layers are cut from themselves, minimizing the waste that goes into making it. This is how we approach the design process, we analyze every design not only from how it performs acoustically and responds to the market needs but also how it performs from a sustainability standpoint. 


Want to learn more? View the full Hyper Sonic Collection.

Read Part One of this interview here.

About the author

Alexis Wagman is the Content Marketing Specialist at Carnegie. Passionate about what connects all of us, she seeks to leverage creative Marketing and design to communicate real stories.