POP A PAPER bag and count the seconds until it goes quiet again – that is more or less how you calculate reverberation in a concert hall. It takes exactly 2.1 seconds for silence to fall in the new Malmö Live concert hall by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. The building’s main auditorium seats 1,600 people, and its acoustics have been calculated with the help of advanced laser measurements and 3D modelling – as well as the paper bags, of course.
The basic principle for good acoustics is to remove all parallel surfaces, which create disturbing echoes and resonance. The uneven surfaces of the walls are more than mere decoration – they provide the key to the hall’s perfectly calibrated sound. The variety of boxes in oak veneer are called Mondrian units after the Dutch artist. In addition to preventing unwanted echoes, they spread the sound around the hall so it is the same everywhere. The panels come from Swedish manufacturer Gustafs, which specialises in acoustic elements.«