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Mindful DesignerSeptember 2010     

Hello everybody!

This is our September 2010 design newsletter. Today I will share some secrets that retail stores, restaurants and other service-oriented companies are currently using to boost their sales. If you are starting a new business, looking to revamp your existing space or are simply tired of your business’ old interior, please read on! And please, don’t forget to post your reply to this newsletter on my new Blog.

In our Green News corner, I’d like to share a glimpse of the largest World EXPO in history happening in Shanghai right now. I had the pleasure of visiting the EXPO this month and will share with you what I saw.

It is really exciting to see more articles on the subject how our surroundings affects our mind and our subconsciousness. To this fact, everyone of us can relate personally: more and more department stores and even restaurants use loud music, sometimes at extreme levels, to boost their business.
An article by Emily Anthes “It’s So Loud, I Can’t Hear My Budget!” (“Psychology Today” magazine, August issue) caught my attention and I would love to share some aspects of using loud music or any type of sounds in a business.
Read on to learn more!

Truly yours, EKATERINA KOHLWES principal / designer



Did you know that many store’s sound consultants suggest creating a “permanent party atmosphere” to attract younger crowds to shop? Emily Anthes notes that loudness may annoy the sound-sensitive customers, but overall, it pays really well. She points out that shoppers make more impulsive purchases when they are overstimulated. Loud music leads to sensory overload, which weakens self-control.

Read more on similar subject here:

Influence of YOUR Business' Brand Design on Profitability of YOUR Business!

Loud Sounds in Business

How Does Sound Affect Us?

“Overload makes people move into a less deliberate mode of decision making,” says Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing at the University on Minnesota.“People might be more likely to be lured by brand names, fooled by discounts on items that they might not really want, and susceptible to other influences.”

Just like any other architectural component, sound has become a very popular way of persuading customers as they enter an establishment. Think about what your business could do to positivley use this information. What age crowd are you serving? How do you want them to feel visiting your place? How do you want your employees to feel? It’s all under your control. Use this information appropriatley, do not use loud music to keep your employees overstimulated at work. But remember that for example providing small doses of stimulation to employees during break hours can help to recharge the brain, consequently leading to a more productive work performance.


In restaurants, music can affect mood as much as the colors and materials you select. For example, slow music encourages patrons to linger - spurring them to splurge on that dessert or extra drink in addition to red colors, evoking appetite. Photo: Interior of Zero Sette retaurant, London, UK

A recent review of 157 retail stores, published in the Journal of Business Research, showed that background music significantly boosts customers’ pleasure as well – and often, the time and money they spend in a store.

Other sounds affect us too, such as the chattering of customers. Many restaurants stopped using sound absorbing materials to create environments that feel more alive, happening and successful. Consult your architectural designer on what materials to use for your business to create appropriate sound control and sound transmission level.

This hotel lobby was designed following different aspects of Feng Shui. This is one of three entrances to the hotel with the main theme - water. The water feature at the center of the atrium provides a soothing sound of fresh running water. It will echo in to the tall space, bringing desirable feelings of relaxation and comfort to the guests. (Jade Dragon Hotel, China, designed by Mindful Design Consulting, rendering by Ryan Knope.)


Sounds to Use in Your Business

Here are some sounds that have been proven to affect us in certain ways and can be used by you in your business as desired:
TEMPO: In restaurants, slow music encourages patrons to linger - spurring them to splurge on that dessert or extra drink. Faster, more contemporary music attracts younger crowds.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: When a wine store played French Music, most customers bought French wine, while German music spurred sales of German wine, according to a University of Leicester study. Researchers theorize that different regional music makes shoppers think of that country, and therefore primes them to buy its wine.
LYRICS: Good news for waiters everywhere: A recent French study revealed that playing songs with "prosocial" lyrics - those about empathy and helping others - can increase tips.
OCEAN WAVES: Did you know that the sound of waves has exactley the same rhythm as a sleeping human body would produce breathing? That explains our tendency to relax when we hear sound of waves in the background. Our body goes into the sleeping mode. Not a bad design element to complement your spa or a massage parlor.
CHIRPING BIRDS: Sounds produced by birds bring feelings of reassurance. This came to us from our history of evolution when we would listen to animals' behavior around us to make sure we are safe. When the birds were chirping happily, we knew there were no predators. What a great idea as a background for your working space.

One more interesting bit of news I wanted to share with you - you are about 1/3 as productive in large open offices as in quiet rooms. So psychologists recommend to wear headphones if you have to work in an open office and listen to something reassuring, such as the sounds of birds. This will get your productivity back up.

Lean more about sounds affecting us HERE. And you can read more on how to control your business environment HERE.

Written materials used in this article came from work of Julian Treasure and Emily Anthes.

Shoppers make more impulsive purchases when they are overstimulated. Loud music leads to sensory overload, which weakens self-control. (Mall designed by Mindful Design Consulting, rendering by Ryan Knope.)


Did you know that today over 50% of the world population lives in cities. The World EXPO 2010 in Shanghai is addressing contemporary problems of urbanization and industrialization that we are facing as the global population is growing. It also addresses different issues related to global climate changes and sustainability in construction and in our ways of living.
Themed "Better City, Better Life", the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai conveys a common wish of mankind for a better future and better city life. Read more HERE. A large number of pavilions were designed and assembled by different countries exhibiting some new inventions in green construction. The Mexican pavilion for example has a green grass roof over it where visitors can walk or have a picnic. The pavilion of Hungary displayed water tubes on the face of the building, helping it to cool down on hot summer days.

Green Roof of Mexican Pavilion - World EXPO 2010, photo by Mindful Design Consulting

I would like to focus your attention on one of the largest pavilions of the EXPO - the Chinese pavilion. It explores the theme "Search of The East", which focuses on how ancient Chinese wisdom has been used to address urban problems. The exhibits include a film depicting the evolution of China's cities and a giant projection of the panoramic painting "Along the River During the Qingming Festival". Another section, entitled "Journey of Wisdom", takes visitors on a cable car tour of the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China: the compass, paper, printing and gunpowder.

Chinese Pavilion - World EXPO 2010, photo by Mindful Design Consulting, August 2010.

Ready for architectural changes? Contact us HERE!

Read more news on similar subjects:

7 Steps To Shape Up Your Business Space!
Design of Business’ Environment As Branding Support In Services Marketing
Lower Your Electric Bill Up To $300 a Year!
Law of Attraction or How To Select Your Wall Art
Before and After Images - 2009 Projects




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