I'm considering buying a new house. I think builders (in Australia) have finally figured out how to build a decent house (proper design, robustness, features, insulation (double glazed windows), heating & cooling)
The display homes I've seen look fantastic with lots of sleek, hard surfaces (carpet
only in the bedrooms), but this means these houses would be noisy with sound bouncing off all the hard surfaces.
I think the ceilings of these new houses should be made of a sound absorbing material (or more precisely an acoustically non-reflecting material). The problem is most sound absorbing material is a bit daggy. For example, acoustical tiles (often used in offices) seem a bit flimsy. You can also carpet your ceiling (I've heard of this, but never seen it), but this must look pretty odd.
So I propose a simple sound absorbing material design that: a) is not made of a porous material (as are most sound absorbing materials); a) easy to make; and c) easy to renovate (e.g. install an extra light).
Basically my idea is an array of rods (about 2cm diameter, 5cm long, 5cm spacing) extending downward from the ceiling. Each rod has a simple mechanism at the end (e.g. a screw thread) so it can be easily inserted/removed into each of the array of holes in the ceiling. The theory being that sound would diffuse into the spaces between the rods rather than being reflected.
This array of rods might look a bit strange. For example, it would look different shades depending on the viewing angle. This could be ameliorated by making each rod a gradient of color (lighter at the base, darker at the tip).
Another problem would be the ceiling would absorb light as well as sound, so might look too dark. The rods could have a reflective surface to counteract this (though the tip would have the same non-reflective finish as the walls).
Alternatively each rod could be a low power light. The lights would be powered by a criss-cross of low-voltage DC wiring in the ceiling, or could be inductively powered.
Also, now that I think about it, this idea does seem strangely familiar; perhaps this is just a subconscious memory bubbling into consciousness.
Now I'm wondering if this would even work very well; the wavelength of most sound is bigger than the rods of the size I have proposed so the rods may make no difference.
Maybe I'm over thinking it all. Maybe the usual amount of furniture, rugs and everyday crap around the house would be enough to reduce the sound reflection. Anyone here live in a sleek new house/apartment? does it get noisy?
apologies for the rambling post.