How Acoustical Treatments Enhance the Design and Experience of Any Space
Custom panels absorb unwanted noise while complementing the room’s decor
Listen! Can you hear that? If you’re at home enjoying a movie in your media room, are you experiencing the audio as it was intended with clear, crisp speech and striking, directional sound? Or, if you’re seated in a cozy lakeside café for an intimate, fine-dining experience, are you able to comfortably enjoy a conversation, or is the space vibrating with chatter, scooting chairs and clanking plates? Sound is a critical factor in how we experience a space, yet it is often completely overlooked in the room’s design.
Lively conversation and laughter create a fun, bustling atmosphere but, if the space is designed with only hard, reflective surfaces, the noise level in the room can quickly escalate, reaching uncomfortable levels. In fact, according to a ZAGAT survey, when restaurant-goers were asked what irritated them most about dining out, 25% responded “noise”. The Action on Hearing Loss found similar results from a campaign; 91% of respondents said that they would not return to a venue where noise levels were too high.
Soft, 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 unwanted noise and improve sound.
Like Newton’s theory
A sound wave will bounce around a room, reflecting off surfaces until it hits an object that either diffuses or absorbs it. Made of sound-absorbing material like foam and fiberglass, sound absorption products are intended to absorb unwanted noise, like echo, within a space. Acoustic panels, tiles, ceiling clouds and 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 will complement the architecture and décor.
Comforts of home
Uncomfortable noise & distractions aren’t limited to just public spaces. Today’s trending remote workforce has more and more people working from home, creating a shift in focus to controlling sound levels not just in our home cinemas, but throughout our homes. Actually, many newly constructed homes and multi-unit buildings now have noise blocking requirements. However, for homes without these initial treatments, noise control can be combatted with carpeting, rugs or floating hardwoods, luxurious draperies, upholstered furnishings, and, of course, elegant acoustic panels. Panels created for the home can mimic art, featuring works from a favorite artist or perhaps your favorite movie or musician. To open a space, panels can even create faux windows with tranquil Lake Norman scenery and exquisite city skylines.
Now what do you hear?
So, listen. Are you able to have a conversation with the clerk behind the counter or with your waiter, without leaning in and asking them to repeat what was asked? Can you conduct a comfortable video conferencing call from your office without raising your voice above the office chatter and HVAC? Sound is an essential element in the overall experience of a space and the treatments to overcome unwanted noise are extensive and elegant. Are you 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
Soundproofing, ExplainThatStuff, Chris Woodford
10 buildings with extraordinary acoustics: Where to find a sonic surprise, The Spaces
Eating Out Loud: Why Restaurants are Getting Noisier, New Statesmen,Caroline Crampton
Introduction to Acoustic Treatment, Home toys, Ethan Winer