Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

Restaurants: the newer the noisier

Today’s Wall Street Journal features an article on noisy restaurants, and specifically why newer restaurants are noisier than ever.  Although the physical causes are nothing new—open kitchens, loud music, and hard finishes that provide little acoustic absorption—the article associates recent noise increases with the current economic downturn.  Interior style elements that traditionally absorb sound—heavy curtains, carpeting, linens, and upholstery— “telegraph a fine-dining message out of sync with today’s cost-conscious, informal diner.”

Of course, the clean, modern aesthetic sought by today’s upscale restaurant needn’t necessarily be a noisy one.  Acoustical treatments that absorb sound and reduce din don’t always take the form of plush carpet, soft upholstery, or heavy drapes; modern treatments can match almost any aesthetic conceivable, hiding behind smooth plaster, wood veneer, metal, transparent plastic, and even artwork.  Beyond matching acoustic performance to visual appearance, an acoustical consultant can  also ensure that these treatments don’t go overboard—unnecessarily deadening the lively, energetic feel that many popular restaurants thrive upon.

Noise is killing Paris nightlife

A recent article in the New York Times highlights the mounting conflict between Parisian revelers and “ever less mirthful” residents that “increasingly demand peace and quiet”.

The contributing causes—high urban density, gentrification that has more than doubled real estate values in recent years, and a 2008 tobacco ban that has sent patrons spilling out onto the sidewalks—closely parallel similar factors in New York City, where noise continues to be the #1 quality-of-life complaint. In response, the 2007 overhaul of the New York City Noise Control Code tightened limits on noise from bars, clubs, and restaurants.

In Paris, such conflicts (and the stepped up regulation that they precipitate) are forcing more and more bars and concert venues out of business, which has in turn lured musicians and DJs to other, more bohemian capitals (such as Berlin). To quote the article — “Paris may soon be dead at night.”

Thankfully, similar circumstances do not seem to have led to such dire consequences here in New York, which continues to enjoy a thriving nightlife—though not always without conflict.  Where a noise problem does occur, an acoustical consultant can help resolve it, either though improved acoustic separation, adjustment of sound systems, or both.  Many bar and restaurant operators, having faced noise issues in the past, work with an acoustical consultant in the design of any new space, to prevent these problems before they happen.