From loud talking to the scraping of chair legs – you know, the sound that makes you clench your teeth – those are the kinds of noises that can ruin a dining experience. And what about those whose hearing is amplified by hearing aids? What about those who live a hectic lifestyle and just want a nice, peaceful evening away?
When heading to a restaurant to spend time with friends or family, it can feel like you’re dining somewhere cheap when noise levels are so overpowering that you can barely hear them talk.
When you can’t relax and wind down when going out to eat, it can destroy the experience and ruin the atmosphere.
While the acoustic conversation has been going on for years now, it seems as if restaurants have cut corners when it comes to being able to control noise levels.
The question of sound and noise in a restaurant isn't a part of the design process which ironically, has enough 'noise.’
During the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards week, some of the team attended the ‘In Pursuit of Silence’ discussion at the beautiful Restaurant St. Barts.
'When you can’t relax and wind down when going out to eat, it can destroy the experience and ruin the atmosphere.'
The talk was sponsored by ‘Quiet Mark,’ a company that assesses and finds solutions to unwanted noise in living areas and ‘BuzziSpace’ which aims to produce effective and high-quality acoustic solutions, lighting, and furniture.
Meeting the founder and CEO of ‘Quiet Mark,’ Poppy Szkiler, and understanding how they’re pioneering the way forward to ensure sound levels have a framework was great, it was even better news finding out that they’re seeking to have their mark of approval for governmental approval, not only for restaurants but also for products too.
The ‘In the Pursuit of Silence’ exploration is drawn from a meditative experiment to understand the relationship between silence, sound and the impact of noise in the settings we regularly find ourselves in.
The talk covered the importance of different materials used to help control acoustic levels, furniture used to absorb sound and how designers can continue to use sustainable materials when controlling these aspects.
'a meditative experiment to understand the relationship between silence, sound and the impact of noise in the settings we regularly find ourselves in.'
Let's imagine every restaurant takes acoustics as seriously as they take lighting or space. Imagine being in a lively, noisy restaurant environment and you can still hear your family and friends speak. Imagine if we could monitor all of this from our phones.
For example, our Brasserie Dubillout project in Paris featured diagonal timber battens that concealed the acoustic ceiling tiles. We wanted to portray a beautifully decorated ceiling, and while we were able to achieve that, we were also able to achieve a fully acoustic ceiling that we integrated into the design. Following this, the clients have asked we include this in their projects going forward.
Our Canto Corvino project had such low ceilings that we were worried from the offset that the space would be challenging, acoustically. Our solution for this involved a continuous acoustic sprayed ceiling with an acoustic paper application. We then introduced faux steel to give the space character. We’re now working with the same clients to fine-tune their other projects.
'the clients have asked we include this in their projects going forward.'
We will continue encouraging our clients to promote that their restaurants have been finely tuned to have the perfect decibel level for dining.
We will also remind our clients about the SoundPrint app that allows guests to measure the decibel level so people can assess whether the environment is too loud, or too loud for them.
Designing hospitality spaces involves more than just focusing on the aesthetic aspect and the visual appeal. Consumers – and designers – are becoming more and more aware of the importance of acoustics in a public, yet intimate, setting such as a restaurant – it contributes greatly to the guest experience.
As we continue to work on various projects, we’ll ensure to take what we’ve learned from this talk into consideration from the foundation materials we use to the aesthetic aspects and build upon our current knowledge of the importance of acoustics.
If you would like to speak to us about designing your restaurant, bar, hotel, office, home, or any other space please email: email@example.com
Fun fact, the average noise level across the board for good dining is 77dB.