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Acoustic Quality of Interior Spaces

One of the many missed out or underused features of interiors is the quality of their sound. We tend to notice when sound is too loud, when it becomes noise. It perhaps causes us to raise our voices just to be able to communicate with people around us from our friends in a restaurant, with the cashier during lunchtime, a colleague in our workplace or just by ourselves trying to ‘hear our thoughts’.

But what we must aim for is not just less noise but actually beautiful quality of sound. Sound quality that allows us to perform our task within a space but that also becomes part of that sensory stimulation which as a result allows us to feel good.

I have just become aware of a study of sounds from around London and encourage you to test your awareness of the various qualities of sound and how they make you feel from various locations and areas around London; the London Sound Survey. As we tend to focus on interior spaces I will of course recommend that you compare the Daytime sound clips from some of the following interiors:

Liberty’s store v Harrods Ground Floor space, which interior provides the experience of quality through its sound? (both in square 26)

New Loon Fung Supermarket v Men’s Toilets Victoria station (both square 26), transactions and sounds of sociopetal designed space behaviour.

Westminster Abbey Chapter House (square 26) v Whispering Gallery St. Paul’s (square 29) whispering sound quality…

Bar Italia Soho (26) v Wong Kei Chinatown (26), where would you stay longer and where would you feel better following your custom? Depending on your age perhaps, but which one would you be inclined to say you would you return to more readily?

Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth (square 8) v Elephant Shopping Centre, both busy but which is more comfortable?

Tate Modern Turbine Hall (square 29) v British Museum (square 26), how large relatively empty volumes behave. Which one do you think you would leave feeling better just from these sounds? And which one would provide a comfortable background to think and relax into?

Take a moment and consider the quality of sound in the spaces you enter and how they affect you, your clients or children to perform their tasks and feel good throughout it.

Look forward to feedback and observations!

Best, Elina



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