Poppy Szkiler is founder and managing director of Quiet Mark, the consumer champion award programme working with brands to create solutions to transform noise pollution. She tells Trend-Monitor how the development of recent trends has meant that the need for quiet in the home has become a priority for us all.
Interview by Emma Hedges
TM: How did the Quiet Mark come about?
PS: Quiet Mark is the international consumer champion award programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charity, which is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year.
It encourages companies worldwide to prioritise noise reduction within the design of everyday machines and appliances, and find solutions to noise problems for our homes, workplaces, living spaces and outdoor environments.
Through expert sound testing and verification of claims, Quiet Mark identifies the quietest products across numerous categories from current market samples with its trusted universal award-symbol, making purchase decisions quicker and easier.
Awarded products offer the reassurance that they deliver the quietest user experience while providing an excellent core function. Valuable help for open-plan living, night-time usage, busy families, supporting hearing sensitivities, including autism, dementia, and for everybody’s health and wellbeing.
TM: How has its role evolved over the years?
PS: It’s seven years since the award programme launched, and Quiet Mark now receives daily award entries from diverse industry sectors all over the world. As products carrying the Quiet Mark significantly outperform sales of louder products category by category, the trusted technical award is becoming a vital sales differentiator as consumers actively seek quiet alternatives.
In addition, a large range of products are now using their Quiet Mark award as a unique selling point. Acoustic design has become as important as the visual design, and this is evidenced by the number of diverse Quiet Mark categories, including toilet flushes, alarm clocks, reversing alarms, shower pumps, hotels, kettles, ovens, musical instruments, flooring, and more.
TM: Are there any wider social trends driving the way in which the Quiet Mark has developed?
PS: In two words: digital overload. Pervasive technology means that noise is always ‘on’. Sound affects our brain waves, heart rate, breathing, hormone secretion, and all our physical rhythms. Technology dependency depletes us and has to be balanced out – this is where the search for quietness begins.
We’re often unaware of the layers of sound from technology surrounding us all day because noise pollution is invisible but profoundly impacts us, it can be exhausting and takes a toll on our bodies.
Silence replenishes, it lowers blood pressure, calms stress and steadies the heart rate. Choosing quiet technology is being kind to ourselves.Silence replenishes, it lowers blood pressure, calms stress and steadies the heart rate. Choosing quiet technology is being kind to ourselves – Poppy Szkiler @QuietMark Click To Tweet
More open-plan living also means sound bounces around more – technology that’s in harmony with nature is vital for the space to work.
TM: Are there any emerging trends that you foresee affecting the way in which people live in their homes in the future?
PS: Homes that resemble spa-like sanctuaries, nature-rich design bringing the outdoors inside, soothing spaces to recharge in that incorporate harmonious soundscape, and excellent acoustic design to support our bodies’ needs. Technology that does not annoy with beeps, but instead comforts with wonderful intrinsically healing sounds.
With a greater understanding or even awakening to the essential need to design sound well, rather than annoy and deplete health, washing machines can play beautiful natural birdsong at the end of a cycle, door bells play harp-chords, coffee machines no longer have dramatic outbursts grinding the beans etc. There’s a universe of possibilities that have not been discovered when the power of sound and silence is harnessed.Excellent acoustic design will support our bodies’ needs. Technology should not annoy with beeps, but instead comfort with wonderful intrinsically healing sounds – Poppy Szkiler @QuietMark Click To Tweet
TM: How do you see the role of the Quiet Mark developing in the future?
PS: Quiet Mark’s new partnerships with the UK’s leading retailers this year will help every British household have a more informed choice about the sound of technology for their homes and best solutions to combat noise problems.
Our new certified solutions guide for architects, designers and developers launching later this year will purposely equip and support the commercial sector with easy-to-reach and apply verified acoustic solutions.
Quiet Mark is now a global markets campaign; we launched in Europe and North America last year with exciting developments underway to scale the testing of products to reach every type of technology and solutions verification for both domestic and commercial sectors.
We all share the responsibility for the health of our next generation. Quiet Mark helps everyone collectively reconsider the often excessive noise levels of the technology that we buy or that is being brought to market. We stand for a value that is often forgotten to make sure it is explored, protected and established again, because sound deeply affects our wellness.We all share the responsibility for the health of our next generation. @QuietMark helps everyone collectively reconsider the often excessive noise levels of the technology that we buy or that is being brought to market – Poppy Szkiler,… Click To Tweet
Noise pollution is an invisible pollutant – it’s a big one to clean up and we can only do that as one. If we buy quiet, design quiet, understand quiet, and make more quiet time for ourselves to recharge properly, we will take a big burden off society.
For more information on Quiet Mark visit www.quietmark.com