A quarter of diners find noise to be the most annoying part of their dining experience, according to the Zagat Dining Trends survey for 2016. Aluglass Bautech explains how to address this aspect in the design.
Although restaurants are not museums or libraries, the din inside these venues often slips from ambience to noise. Music and televisions create background notes, the bustle of staff adds sounds, diners speak spontaneously to their companions and as the tables fill up, the noise level rises.

In fact, busy restaurants can exceed the noise levels that some countries mandate as the limit for prolonged exposure – as loud as a lawnmower.

Take acoustic control
However, sound can be controlled with acoustic design. It is entirely possible to selectively address certain sounds and not hurt the ambience of the room, even if it is an open plan and filled with conversational patrons.

The sweet spot for any place where conversation takes place is between 60 and 70 decibels (dB), where background music can be heard without being intrusive.

To achieve this, divide the restaurant in zones, including background rooms such as the kitchen and anything that the establishment shares a wall with, for example a neighbouring business, as well as noisy external areas such as roads or hallways. Identify the main noise sources in each area and then devise a strategy.

Incorporate these:
•    Place absorption panels near workstations to reduce noise from those spots.
•    Install absorption panels and soundproof doors such as the Varikust acoustic doors to reduce overflow sounds from a bar area sharing the wall with diners.
•    Strategically use indoor plants to scatter sound and reduce its range and volume.
•    Invest in acoustic dividers such as Variflex mobile partitions. Such dividers have no floor tracks and can be packed away neatly when not in use. Customised to complement existing décor, and even enhance the existing look.
•    Use acoustic glass such as GF Serene to create secluded areas that still emphasise space, such as a private dining section.
•    If the outdoors is noisy, replace outward windows with acoustic glazing and hang plants outside to scatter sound.
•    Put acoustic panels decorated as art prints or decor elements in strategic spots.

Part of the décor
There are various finishes for panels, particularly mobile dividers. Natural wood veneers and glass are often used to create ambient areas. When done well, sound panels can blend into the restaurant, doing for the sound what décor does for visual stimulation.

Aluglass Bautech (Pty) Limited
Tel: 011 451 8400
Email: mailbox@aluglass.co.za
Website: www.aluglass.co.za

Aluglass Bautech – ENGINEERING QUIET SINCE 1973!

Captions:
The Glassflex framed partition system is ideal for enclosing restaurants and with only top-hung elements, no floor track is required.