Monday, July 14, 2008

Sound Considerations

Mineral fiber Copper/Tin Ceiling at Siena Trattoria

More and more of my clients are opting for hard surface finishes. The advantages are obvious, long wearing and easy to clean.
Gone are the soft fabric window treatments, collectors as well as producers of dust and lint.
Tile floors, always the better option over food, stain and odor prone carpeting are becoming the norm in the restaurant industry.
The main disadvantage, requiring creative design solutions is uncontrolled noise.
From kitchen clatter, footsteps, Diner chatter and the like, the resultant din can turn an otherwise pleasant dining experience into a stressful visit, leaving guests with an unpleasant memory of your establishment.
There are smart design concepts that will help in most every situation.

I have designed recirculating water wall features in several of my clients restaurants.
Constructed near the kitchen entry/exit, these installations can greatly mask the tinny metallic and clashing sounds of the kitchen, while producing a comforting hush throughout the dining areas.

Large leafed foliage can break up sound waves bouncing around the dining room, with the added benefit of creating visual shielding adding perceived privacy the the diners experience.

Acoustic Materials
Pictured above is an example of a restaurant I designed, in which the motif called for a metal (copper) drop ceiling. This thin metal on metal frame ceiling would have added greatly to the inherent noise problems of a restaurant with a tile floor, hardwoods and a great deal of glass.
This actually created a very large area to where I could add, invisibly an acoustic solution to this restaurants sound problems.
I found a mineral fiber acoustic ceiling tile, that when painted with a metallic copper paint and brush glazed with a burnt sienna finish, beautifully mimics a real copper ceiling, while providing a permeable baffle for excellent sound control. see Armstrong

Nicola's Italian with a Twist note the lighted water feature far left and the canvas sound baffle behind the lighting clouds.

Nicola's offered yet an additional problem not too uncommon. The restaurant was designed to have a completely open ceiling.
Lighted canvas panels, grommeted and laced across the hard right angled corner softened the harsh sound pattern created by dinner conversation along this wall.
With the addition of a water feature in the far corner nearest the kitchen, this previously noisy area became the most desired section of the restaurant.

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