Listen! What do you hear? If you’re trying out a new restaurant for an intimate, fine-dining experience, are you able to comfortably have a conversation or is the space vibrating with chatter and clanking plates? When attending a conference, are you able to clearly hear the keynote speaker and effectively network during the social? Have you stepped outside of a mall, arena or airport, relieved at the reduced noise level? Sound is a critical factor in how we experience a space, yet it is often completely overlooked in the room’s design.
Laughter and chatter create a fun, lively atmosphere but, if the space is designed with only hard, reflective surfaces, the noise level in the room can quickly escalate to an uncomfortable level. In fact, according to a ZAGAT survey, when asked what irritated them most about dining out, 25% responded “noise”. Similarly, the Action on Hearing Loss conducted a campaign and found that 91% of respondents said that they would not return to a venue where noise levels were too high.
Background music and normal speaking levels are desirable sounds, but noises that bounce off the hard surfaces and high ceilings need to be controlled. That’s the job of acoustical treatment, a thoughtfully engineered and aesthetically designed series of ceiling, wall and floor treatments to absorb noise and improve sound.
Surface to Surface
Sound waves will bounce around a room, reflecting off surfaces until it hits an object that either breaks it up or absorbs it. Made of sound-absorbing material like foam or fiberglass, sound absorption products are intended to absorb unwanted noise, like echo, within a space. Products like acoustic panels, tiles, ceiling clouds, & ceiling baffles are all sound absorption products that are designed to dampen sound in a properly treated space. An acoustical analysis will determine the treatments required to improve the room’s acoustical properties. Once determined, the design choices are endless with custom fabrics, materials, shapes and placement options that complement the architecture and décor.
Did you hear that?
So, stop for a moment and listen. Can you have a conversation with the clerk behind the desk or with your waiter without shouting? Can you have a comfortable video conferencing call from your office without raising your voice above the HVAC or office chatter? Sound is an essential element in the overall experience of a space and the treatments to overcome unwanted noise are extensive and elegant. Ready to have a “conversation” about how to address the acoustics in your spaces? Call us today – we’re “listening”!
Rules for Placement of Acoustic Panels in a Theater Room: Technology in Education, Mark Valenti
10 buildings with extraordinary acoustics: Where to find a sonic surprise, The Spaces
Soundproofing, ExplainThatStuff, Chris Woodford
Eating Out Loud: Why Restaurants are Getting Noisier, New Statesmen, Caroline Crampton
Introduction to Acoustic Treatment, Home toys, Ethan Winer