Loud cafes, deafening restaurants and harsh sounding bars could soon become an issue of the past. Black Canvas Acoustic Design & Art Gallery plans on creating noise absorbing acoustic panels out of stretched canvas frames for local emerging artists to produce work on.

Initially being trialled in South East Queensland, the project is a joint collaboration between Brisbane based project manager and audio engineer Daniel Pye and arts-worker and curator Talulah Jung.

The project aims to give artists a sustainable and practical application for their work, in addition to solving the age old issues of noisy public venues.

The canvas frames are made from unprimed Caravaggio canvas and Australian timber frames. Materials used to produce the artwork will include graphite, inks, water soluble paints and dyes to prevent the pores of the canvas from clogging, allowing sound to pass through the canvas to the Basotect acoustic materials within the timber frame.

Canvas Frame with Basotect Prototype.

Canvas frame with Basotect prototype.

Basotect is a melamine resin foam that is fire retardant, chemical and microbe resistant, temperature stable and non-toxic, ideal for use most industrial acoustic applications. In the medium and high frequency ranges, Basotect exhibits outstanding sound absorption behaviour. At low frequencies, technical acoustic improvements can be achieved by means of additional heavy layers.

Acoustic Foam will provide the acoustic absorption needed for mid to high frequency control

Acoustic foam will provide the acoustic absorption needed for mid to high frequency control

From an environmental perspective, waste from Basotect can be recycled for purposes of heat and material recovery

“We are looking to solve three critical issues with one simple solution,” explained Pye. “Firstly, the lack of artist career sustainability within the industry. Emerging artists are paid dismally for their work despite how much time, money and effort they put into these amazing pieces of art. There needs to be more consistent paid work for emerging artists for them to be able to develop both their art and business skills to ensure they can create a career for themselves.”

“Secondly, noise issues within public cultural spaces like cafes, bars and restaurants, don’t seem to be taken seriously by venue owners. People who go to these places go to connect with other people, but they can’t because it is so incredibly loud.

“Lastly, due to the fact that it is so loud in some of these spaces, it is causing people permanent hearing damage, not only customers but employees. We plan on eliminating all three at once.”

  • What a great initiative to combine art and acoustics. I really like that it financially supports the artist as well. I think this could really work in venues/retail that sit below residential apartments on the ground floor.

  • This is a brilliant idea. I am so sick of going to venues such as bars and restaurants in Brisbane that only has hard surfaces and being unable to have a conversation with the person next to me due to acoustics. It has stopped me returning to venues on a number of occasions.It is astounding that no one who runs such a venue has ever appeared to be aware of the problem . I have just returned from a trip to the UK and there is no such problem there due to the cold climate encouraging carpets drapes and other soft furnishings.

  • Was having lunch with a friend the other do who remarked that his hard-of-hearing friend refuses to have a drink with him due to the poor noise environment in bars/cafes/restaurants. Art is a good idea, and lots of companies, have already started utilising it. The real problem though is that restaurateurs don't consider acoustics at the design phase, big no-no.

    • I have designed many restaurant and bars, and I always bring up acoustics, and tell the Client how important it is. They always say that a quiet bar is a dead bar, they want any and all noise, so the place appears to be 'Happening' …
      So blame the owners, not the Designers!

  • Awesome solution, background noise in public venues makes it unpleasant and fatiguing for those with auditory processing issues. The fact that so many are built with all hard surfaces as seems the current trend, cool as they seem they are simply unbearable to sit in and have a conversation.

  • This is a terrific idea. I have used this type of product before. If you use 1" AcoustiCotton behind it, it offers great sound absorption and uses green products as well.

  • Thank you so much everyone for the lovely comments! We're working really hard to make sure we can start convincing establishments that acoustic treatment within their spaces are imperative to patron's comfort and enjoyment. We also feel strongly toward providing artists a practical application for their work. IT'S A WIN-WIN 🙂