There is no one acoustic solution that fits all. Different buildings and interiors have different acoustic requirements, and getting it right can make all the difference between becoming a hugely popular place and becoming notorious for poor sound management. This article analyses two building interiors that require completely different acoustic designs; the bustling café and the local library.
Acoustic insulation for cafés
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a café, there doesn’t need to be many people present for it to be a little bit noisy, but not too noisy? This is not a coincidence. A well-designed café is acoustically designed with products like Autex Insulation to facilitate moderate noise reverberation (echo). There are several benefits associated with this.
One benefit is that even if only a couple of conversations are going on at the same time at different tables, it can still be difficult to hear what another person is saying on another table. This helps to create a sense of privacy within the group where the guests feel free to have a conversation amongst themselves without being overheard by other patrons or working staff.
Another benefit of moderate reverberation is that it produces a lively atmosphere. It creates the ‘buzz’ which you can often feel as soon as you walk in the door to a popular cafe. This buzz increases the more customers are at the café. Depending on what the actual café interior is made from, this will affect how little or how much acoustic insulation is required in order to being the reverberation to the optimal level. Furniture also plays a large part in reducing or increasing noise reverb. Hence great measures will have to be taken to resolve the acoustics of a café that has a concrete floor, brick walls and plastic chairs, because without any insulating material at all, these kinds of rooms will often tip into the ditch of becoming unbearably noisy.
Sound solutions for libraries
On the other end of the spectrum is the local library. Libraries are reputably known to be deadly quiet and just like the noisy café this is not a coincidence. The entire building interior is designed to absorb as much noise as possible. Any loud and sudden noises will quickly be absorbed by the acoustic panels which have been strategically placed. You can find sound insulation in the most surprising places. Acoustic sound panels are quite common and these can be very effective especially if they are put on opposite sides of the room.
Carpet in itself has noise dampening qualities, although there is also special sound insulating carpet that is designed specifically to absorb high levels of sound. Chairs with cushions and soft backings will have a relatively minor impact on the overall control of noise, but when used in combination with strategic building design can contribute towards the overall result.