Around 18 months ago our ways of socialising changed dramatically overnight, as the pandemic took hold. Once a nation of enthusiastic pub goers, the doors shut overnight and instead we relied on Zoom quizzes, fire pits and garden gatherings.
And interestingly as we emerge post pandemic – with some relishing the opportunity to stand at the bar once more – we have seen a significant change to our work in residential properties, suggesting that not everyone is ready to go back to crowded pubs and bars. The alternative? Party Barns!
As Angus Gibson commented in a recent Sunday Times article, party barns are in high demand from seasoned ravers willing to re-create Ibiza in their back garden.
As a team of sound experts, we install audio, video and acoustic solutions, to bring theatre-quality lights and concert quality sound into public spaces, hospitality, corporate and residential spaces. And there is no doubt, people are now investing far more in their sociable spaces at home.
For many years we have worked with property owners who have Party Barn or Party Room spaces. Often these are converted barns, to be filled with the hum of conversation, DJ decks, parties and live music. Sometimes this looks like an extension, a fancy shed, a covered outdoor space or an out-house that has been converted and requires audio or acoustic treatment. And those calls are coming into our office, ten-fold.
Want to know how to create the most fantastic Party Barn space? Read on!
Interior designers who understand the role that sound plays in a space will create incredible places to entertain. But if you don’t have an interior designer on hand, here are the main elements to consider as you create your enviable party barn.
It is important to work out the how you want to use the room, will it be multi-functional hosting everything from morning yoga sessions, to remote Zoom meetings and teenage parties? Or perhaps this is a space dedicated to partying and mastering the decks?
First, you must consider the lighting, electrics and fittings before plastering and decorating, suggests Emile Azan, Design Director at Chameleon Interior Design.
“It’s an integral part of any scheme and this is your one chance to get it right. Plan your lighting when you’re thinking about plumbing. As a rule of thumb, allow as much budget for your lighting as you would your flooring. Your choices will depend on the size of your space, and whether your room has a high or low ceiling”.
The Sound Experience:
We suggest you also consider the sound experience at this stage too. If you are working with a barn or outhouse space, it is likely that high ceilings could cause high reverberation, which means noise will be amplified and distorted – a terrible space to host a dinner party if not acoustically treated.
As Angus Gibson points out, “you cannot have good sound without good acoustics”.
Emile suggests that ‘layering’ lighting to include task, ambient and feature lighting is “a visual and practical science” and the same can be said for sound. Understanding where your sound system and speakers are positioned, and any necessary acoustic treatment requires a similar approach.
Ensuring that you allow budget for acoustic and AV provision is important, all too often acoustic treatment is added after the project is complete. It’s far more budget efficient to plan acoustic panels, living plant walls, and furnishings in the early stages of your project. Acoustic panels can easily be created to provide impactful and bespoke wall art (whilst absorbing excess sound) or suspended panels can add an architectural feature (at the same time discreetly absorbing the reverberation of sound from the ceiling).
“Sound has a strong influence on how you experience a space” comments Emile, who is equally as mindful of the impact of sound on our overall wellbeing and enjoyment of spaces.
Quality of Sound:
Finally, imagine having created a beautiful space, with incredible acoustics, and now it is time to consider the sound system. We know from experience that you cannot rely on a ‘domestic’ sound system to generate the party atmosphere. We see it all too often. Top brand domestic systems are simply not designed for this application, yet for similar budgets top end concert systems are. Specifying, installing and setting these systems up is an art, but the results are staggering.
Our heritage here at Rossco is supplying systems for top musicians and artists at wonderful private events. We have done this for twenty five years and this puts us in the unique position of understanding what makes truly great sound, and world class domestic entertainment spaces.