The Sound of Silence

Think of your ideal place to relax. Now tell me: what does this place sound like? Chances are it doesn't sound anything remotely close to a rock concert.

Why then, does the world around us insist on creating spaces that can often be classified as acoustical nightmares? From the home to commercial spaces, we have become numb to the effect that these "noisy" design aesthetics have on our lives.

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly passionate about uncovering the effects of acoustics in design. Think about how open concept has changed the home. Think about how hard, loud surfaces heighten the sound in a restaurant. I believe that "loud" design elements have a direct correlation with increased stress and irritability - however minor it may be. Factor in an aging population with increased hearing sensitivity, and you have an increasingly important design dilemma. I truly believe that consumers are making their choice at which restaurant to dine based on the noise levels present.

The good news: I have been uncovering more and more evidence that suggests that the design industry is finally getting "tuned in" to the idea of noise pollution. Case in point: http://www.acousticswithdesign.com. These sound absorption panels change the function of the space in which they are placed; they reduce noise reverberation while making a unique design statement.

As I always say, form follows function. Let's keep talking about ways we can optimize acoustics in design.


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