Story at a glance:

  • The Autex Acoustics and Emma Hayes collaboration includes eight designs that combine the very best of nature and acoustic functionality.
  • Sustainability is the foundation of every Autex Acoustics product and process.
  • All Autex Acoustics products, including the Emma Hayes collection, are carbon neutral.

In New Zealand, the land is as diverse as the people who live there. From snow-capped mountains and ancient volcano peaks to spectacular fjords and divine beaches across the country’s 9,300 miles of coastline, it’s a place where the landscape isn’t taken for granted. It’s celebrated.

And for Emma Hayes, founder and creative director of Emma Hayes Textiles, New Zealand’s scenic landscape is the very foundation of her practice.

“The influences of New Zealand—closeness to water, expansive landscapes, and rich biodiversity—has consistently informed our creative direction. This influence permeates every aspect of our designs, serving as a continuous source of inspiration,” Hayes says. “We believe in the importance of preserving our environment for future generations and our well-being. Our designs seek to show that we value nature by keeping the environment at the forefront of what we do.”

Her latest collaboration with Autex Acoustics, a 50-plus-year manufacturing powerhouse of non-woven architectural textiles and modern acoustic solutions, takes that philosophy one step further. Combining textiles and acoustics, the collection’s eight designs not only create spaces rooted in quiet moments of natural sanctuary but also protect the planet that inspired them: The entire collection is carbon neutral.

“As a design studio we aim to create biophilic designs that evoke calm and well-being. Emphasizing the well-documented advantages of biophilic design, we channel the serenity of the outdoors into living spaces, creating a soothing calmness that counterbalances the frenetic pace of modern life,” she says. “Together with Autex, we have literally created quiet decoration. Form and function working in unison to create beautiful acoustics.”


Photo courtesy of Autex Acoustics

That’s nothing new for Autex. Since its start in 1967 the company has pushed the envelope of what acoustics can be. The family-run manufacturer, now with its third generation at the helm, has solidified itself as an award-winning global design practice with its ability to innovate and transform spaces with modern acoustics and sustainable textiles.

Sustainable product design and manufacturing are at the core of every Autex product and process. As with Hayes’ Autex collection, all of Autex’s products are carbon neutral. The company established a zero-waste product line back in 1990, before most manufacturers took the concept of zero waste seriously. And more recently, in 2022, Autex balanced all emissions from its global operations to zero, including in the US, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

When Autex first partnered with Hayes to create custom acoustic panels for Meredith Connell, one of New Zealand’s largest law firms, it was their shared commitment of doing better for the planet that forged a collaboration.

“The brief for the interior design was to create a workspace that expels all preconceived notions of the typical look and feel of a law firm—one that celebrates contemporary New Zealand and connects people with the natural environment,” Hayes says. And that it did. Cementing its commitment to staff well-being, Meredith Connell is the first law firm in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve WELL pre-certification.

“While our panels were just a small part of an amazing fit-out, it was a successful collaboration and a great experience. We found Emma’s calm and considered approach easy to work alongside, and her beautiful nature-inspired designs really complemented our acoustic products,” says Marcel Herbke, general manager sales at Autex Acoustics New Zealand.

Hayes agrees. “Working with Autex on the Meredith Connell project, we discovered how compatible our products were, and this sparked a conversation about what else we could do together,” she says. “From the beginning Autex was open to our ideas and designs. It was a true partnership, all with the goal of creating beautiful textiles to collide with beautiful acoustics.”

Hayes’ and Autex’s teams began brainstorming, looking at existing designs to see what would work best when applied to acoustic panels. Then they got technical, testing each design at scale.

“The initial challenge was collating a range from Emma’s impressive collection. This required selecting eight designs that would reflect her aesthetic, cover an appropriate color palette, and work well on our panels,” Herbke says. “From there a lot of work went into getting the scaling of her hand painted designs right for our range of panel widths and lengths. For example, for some designs the pattern was spread across a number of panels, while others worked well with a two-panel pattern repeat.”

Materials are important in any project, and even more so when designing for carbon neutrality. Composition, performance, and environmental attributes were all considered and emphasized to ensure minimal environmental impact. The acoustic panels are also manufactured locally to reduce product miles and lead times.

“Sustainability is big part of what we do. All Emma Hayes acoustic panels have a minimum of 80% recycled content, they come cut to size to reduce site waste, they are certified carbon neutral and low VOC, use plant-based UV cured ink, and are recyclable at end of life through our proprietary palletizing process,” Herbke says.

The resulting eight designs are calming and organic, harkening back to New Zealand’s wondrous peaks and valleys and the natural beauty of this planet we all call home. With Autex’s acoustic functionality, harmony away from the chaos of life can be reached.

“I really admire the work Autex Acoustics is doing, especially the material technology and other sustainable advancements their team is making,” Hayes says. “Their commitment to carbon neutrality is admirable and aspirational! Throughout this process, the team at Autex has been open, kind, generous, and experts in everything they do.”

Walk into any room with Autex Acoustics solutions, and you’ll know exactly what Hayes is talking about. You won’t hear a thing, and that’s exactly the point.


Photo courtesy of Autex Acoustics


Photo courtesy of Autex Acoustics