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8 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 Form + Function Johnston's company, located in New Jersey, has grown to depend on a networked, integrated AV system for restaurants. This approach tends to be more common in residential settings because it takes a more pre- programmed approach, using controls and equipment that are not quite as complex. Serious Audio Video started installing these low-tech solutions exclusively after Hurricane Sandy wiped out so many of the company's clients' AV systems. The more traditional type systems they had installed previously were shutting off from the storm's power losses, and then Johnston would need to go back out to each location to reestablish each AV connection despite the fact that the systems did not suffer any other damages from the storms. However, the residential-type systems would come back online and reestablish wireless handshakes without Johnston's intervention when the elec- tricity came back on. When Johnston realized how resilient these systems were, he began to install them in all of his projects. Johnston goes on to say that they design the AV system to integrate with the lighting and the HVAC system and even to motorized drapery. So, the entire system can be turned off at the same time at the end of the day, can be controlled remotely and can even be programmed to automatically adjust throughout various dayparts, making the system incredibly easy for operators to control. AV equipment needs to be kept clean and properly ventilated. With the trend of moving back-of-the-house functions to the front, AV systems can even be designed to stay visible to pa- trons. "They like seeing the lights and technology," says Howell. Acoustical Considerations "Most often, we hang speakers from the ceiling to prevent hot spots," says Howell. "The speakers are then supplemented with subwoofers to get an incredible sound." Some restau- rants are installing stealth speakers, which are background-only sound devices located inside the wall with a coat of drywall mud and paint over the top. Speakers can be hidden in myriad ways: behind artwork, behind acousti- cally transparent wall fabric, within ceiling tiles and even inside LED smart bulbs outfitted with Bluetooth. "Hiring an acoustician gets expensive," says Howell. Acoustic treatments and sound-masking strate- gies can work together to prevent reverberation. Johnston recommends hiding foam anywhere possible within the restaurant. If the restaurant has an open-ceiling design, then an acoustics challenge exists. It is ideal to add battens to soften the sound; sometimes they hang from the plenum space. Supplemental speak- ers could emit noise-canceling and sound-masking properties. An acoustical engineer could be an invaluable asset to a restaurant that is particularly challenging. For example, some restaurant owners want outdoor music for their patios, but they are located in a sound- restricted zone. Acousticians can take the AV system design to a higher level for both the interior and exterior audiovisual systems. + For in-depth coverage on acoustics in restau- rant spaces, see rddmag.com/march2017. At La Isla in Hoboken, N.J., designers considered how material choices would affect acoustics and the audiovisual systems integration. Photo by Joe Lipari