Decor Systems presents a list of six helpful tips to maximise the acoustic quality of spaces in crowded shopping centres.

1. Busy walkways

Determine the busiest walkway leading into the shopping centre and ensure that you install a high NRC rating panel.

2. Polished concrete or hard tile surfaces?

If your ceiling has a reflective surface such as glass, it will be hard and non-absorbent. Your walls could be the best place to absorb the sound reverberating off the walls and ceilings.

3. Food courts

Food courts are the centre of activity in any shopping centre or mall. Being the loudest and busiest location in the building, it’s important that the interiors are designed to provide acoustic comfort so that people are encouraged to stay longer; an obnoxiously loud environment verging on the unbearable will only drive shoppers away.

4. Escalators

The space around escalators provides an avenue for creative expression when designing the acoustics. Add a custom design or a pop of colour to the acoustic wall panels. You could consider perforated panels with a 2pk poly or a bespoke panel in a timber veneer.

5. Mother’s room

Create a safe noise-free zone for mums and bubs. These midday shoppers represent an important share of retail purchases, so keeping them happy will make your retailers happy.

6. Mall area

Modern shopping centres provide a large central space to stage events and performances. Typically consisting of a large open area and hard surfaces surrounding it, the space can cause terrible echoes, affecting the quality of the performance. Consider operable walls or high NRC panels around the edge of the ceiling as these acoustic walls will help enhance the performance, and keep both performers and audiences happy.

The materials specified for all of the above spaces are critical to creating a positive atmosphere in your shopping centre and will encourage repeat visits. Make a list of spaces that are vacant or uncomfortably loud, and try to add a few acoustic solutions to help drive traffic.