Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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6 8 • 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 • J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 Form + Function aesthetic we want without creating an acoustical nightmare," Galvin says. He also designs dropped ceilings that con- tain acoustical material above so sound isn't reverberated back to guests. Adding wood slats to a ceiling with heavy-duty sound-absorbing material also works to control reverberations. Salter tells a story about Mudd's restau- rant, built in the 1980s in San Ramon, Calif. "The floor is colored concrete, the walls are stucco and the restaurant has many windows. To control reverberation, a spaced, kiln-dried, cedar slat ceiling with sound-absorbing material behind it was installed. In addition to effectively controlling reverberation and conceal- ing necessary equipment, such as fire protection gear, HVAC and the sound system, the vaulted ceiling is aestheti- cally appealing." Many restaurants contain hard sur- faces like glass, stone, metal, gypsum board and concrete that tend to rever- berate sound. Fabric-wrapped panels as well as burlap-covered and linen- covered walls dampen noise. "Spray- on materials that keep the industrial charm can be effective to reduce the bounce of sound in a space," Salter says. Porous acoustic plaster with a NRC rating of 1.00+ is an effective application for seamless, flat, curved, domed and vaulted surfaces. Galvin suggests breaking up flat wall surfaces by placing insulation in between staggered studs and creating a serpentine motif. "This absorbs more sound because there is more absorption area," Galvin says. He also suggests placing insulation all the way to the top of walls to meet the ceiling deck so sound can't travel above and drop into other spaces. Installing carpeting is an obvious so- lution to minimizing noise, though most carpet is only about 20 percent to 35 percent absorptive. "At one restaurant in Florida, we put in some carpet to absorb reverberations, but we couldn't carpet everything, so we had to give more at- tention to the ceilings and walls," Galvin says. Using cork flooring and foam can be sound absorbing, as can inserting a layer of rubber beneath the floor. Some restaurateurs are looking at a system developed for performance space and game technology. Tiny microphones and speakers are placed at each table, which becomes its own audio zone. The microphones and speakers are piped into a computer so that noise levels can be monitored and adjusted automatically. Kitchen Acoustics As more restaurateurs move kitchens to the foreground, noise becomes even more of a concern. Banging pots and stainless steel counter noise reverberate into dining spaces. When this happens, staff may need to be retrained. "For the most part, new hood systems are pretty quiet and create a consistent white noise that isn't disturbing," Shea says. "People pick up on change of sound. So, they don't respond well to cooks shouting at each other, for example." One way noise can be contained is by placing easy-to-clean soffits over the front of the cooking line. Given the complexity of acoustic design, creating the right soundscape is indeed both an art and a science that is best addressed before a restaurant is built. But if retrofitting is the only option, be sure the right materials are used to achieve desired results. + The restaurant owners at Salter's project at Hak- kasan in San Francisco had specific acoustical requirements. The absorbing material was black duct liner board on the ceiling. Photo courtesy of Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. At COV in Wayzata, Minn., Shea's team raised the ceiling but added wood slats and dense acoustical panels to absorb and break up the sound. The open kitchen and bar provide white noise. Photograph by Travis Anderson For more on acoustics see p.49.

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