Architects show how to make minimalism in restaurants work

News /
11 September 2014
Architects show how to make minimalism in restaurants work
Winner Michael McPhillips proposed acoustic makeover for Affomato.

The Dine Hear Acoustic Designer for 2014 was announced today by leading manufacturer and supplier of lightweight construction materials, Knauf. Michael McPhillips from Magoffin and Deakin Architects took the award and the $5,000 cash prize in a competition that drew 187 entries from architects and design students around Australia.

“What was striking about all the entries was the way designers used acoustic materials almost as interior art – as well as to reduce noise but keep buzzy restaurant ambience,” said Knauf Marketing Manager Stephanie Olsen.
“It showed that minimalism in restaurant design has been overdone and it’s possible to have a fresh approach to uncluttered interiors,” she said.

The Dine Hear competition, in its second year, urges restaurateurs and venue owners to consider acoustics as part of the design process to create a better dining experience. Competition entrants were asked to visit their favourite restaurant and design an acoustic makeover.

As part of the competition, Knauf created Sound of Architecture, an interactive website that simulates the effect of acoustic materials on restaurant noise levels. Winner Michael McPhillips chose to makeover a popular Armidale restaurant Affomato, with a single, high-ceilinged room that “just does not fare well acoustically when it is filled with clientele.”

A number of designers, including award-winning restaurant architect Sidney Koh, of Aqua Dining fame, used acoustic materials not only to improve the sound experience but also the visual experience.

Melbourne’s popular Chin Chin received an acoustic and visual makeover. Pocket Oat architect Ardhene Sembrano included larger-than-life letters spelling CHIN CHIN covered with Knauf Heradesign panel, suspended from the ceiling.

Other much-loved restaurants chosen by designers include Melbourne’s one-hat restaurant Epocha; Sydney’s Hemmes’ owned El Loco; emerging favourite Moon Park and Perth’s Little Creatures Great Brewery Hall.

The finalists' entries can be viewed on


Knauf supplies plasterboard, compounds, plasters, cornices, primers, sealants and associated products and systems for residential and commercial projects.

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