If you were blindfolded, spun in a circle of confusion and then taken on a journey through the various rooms – your personal environments within your home, what would your ears tell you? Would you notice a heightened sensitivity to the acoustic
al environment that is influencing and reinforcing your behavior on a daily basis? Would the acoustical quality allow you to identify which rooms/spaces you’re being led into?
For example, would you know when you’re in the kitchen, by how acoustically hard the space is, how all the hard surfaces reflect sounds more sharply than say a soft acoustical space? Would you know when you’re in your bedroom, would the most intimate space within your home be the quietest, softest, with the least amount of reverberations, the most acoustically intimate space within your home?
What for instance would the hard surfaced bathroom, sound/feel like if the bathtub were overflowing with all your closet clothing, a comfortable chair crammed into a vacant corner, and your mattress leaning up against the tub – as we were forced to do during a major bedroom carpet installation? For us, there was a sense of congruency, a sense of being held in an acoustical intimate environment that brought a stronger sense of comfort and security to our otherwise minimally clad or naked bodies. If your bathroom were installed with sound absorbing moisture resistant grass cloth wallpaper, an extra assortment of towels, perhaps even an area rug, think how acoustically comforting it would feel.
While the acoustical environments we live, work and learn in are often subtle and not immediately evident, the impact is profound. The slightest shift in material choices can be heard/felt; either thwarting or supporting desired behavior and sense of well-being.
The acoustical environment is just one of the many ‘stimulotropisms’ designers and you have available, tropisms that we will explore in future articles.
Close your eyes and listen to your world. Think of all the design changes you could make by just using your ears.
“Everything in life is speaking, is audible, is communicating, in spite of its apparent silence.” – hazrat inayat khan -
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