Have you ever gone out for a quiet dinner for two, only to find that it is anything but quiet?
The restaurant echoes with the clinking of plates and loud “background” music, and you have to shout over the noise of dozens of over-table conversations just to be heard.
It’s a common experience according to Soren Norgaard, general manager of audio visual trade show Integrate, which opens in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“I think we’ve all been in a situation where you’re out and the food is nice, but you can’t actually converse and it’s just annoying,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Sami Shah and Jacinta Parsons.
“It’s a special occasion, and you sit there looking at each other and you can’t hear each other.”
He said the noise level at some restaurants could reach close to 100 decibels, above what is legally allowed in many other environments.
“If you were in an industrial situation you would actually have to have hearing protection.”
Minimalist design to blame
Mr Norgaard said modern design trends were often to blame for restaurants being noisy.
“With their fittings today, a lot of them are hard surfaces — you get concrete, steel, glass.”
He said such minimalist design allowed for easy maintenance but it had a downside.
“You get reverberation from ambient noise, you get a lot of white noise, in turn people speak louder, and it all has a knock-on effect.”
Most restaurants are…
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