A Giant Volume Meter May Be Society’s Only Hope

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope. – Princess Leia STAR WARS

Is the big city life a little too noisy for you? Is all the honking and screaming really getting to you? Would a visual meter of the noise level and the ruckus assist in getting people to realize we are simply too loud?

Volumen, designed by Sergio Avello, is a large meter presenting the urban noise level outside the Relegaleria in Buenos Aires. It resembles the Art Lebedev design of the remote control with a button for every channel, but is actually built and standing.

The volume levels are visually indicated by the different cells and colors on the large art piece and shown in real time.

When I first read about this, I immediately thought of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City. As drivers are getting close to its entrance, there are signs mentioning a fine if they honk their horn. This may be a tactic to prevent honking, but the sound of the city is still extremely strong, and fine or no fine, we still drown in it.

The Volumen concept may not be as practical; to build a tall standing piece in main city parts, but it sure does present a positive concept. The idea of illustrating passing individuals how loud the area truly is may help people to decrease the noise level a few notches.

Is your city of residence too loud? Would the Volumen meter help reduce the noise or just get drowned in it?

Additional images may be found at the Sergio Avello’s page,


Via: Make

9 thoughts on “A Giant Volume Meter May Be Society’s Only Hope

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  3. Tal Siach.

    Hi Geegee,

    Wow, thank you for the explanation. I never looked at it from that stance…seems you are really interested in this area.

    We appreciate you taking time to share that comment with us. Hope to see you soon. 🙂

  4. Geegee.

    Here’s an interesting article-
    Dangerous Decibels: Dancing Until Deaf

    I know that in Canada there are strict laws regarding decibel levels in clubs ensuring that clubbers don’t end up with hearing impairments after a long night out…

    Other countries, however, don’t have a strict law enforcement regarding decibels in clubs.
    And since many club owners and djs have poor hearing anyway, it could be the perfect tool to remind them to keep the volume within reasonable limits. Clubs have limiters, but usually they are there to protect the sound system, rather than the people. Obviously the “Volumen” would have to be adjusted according to it’s location…

    It would be a constant reminder, as well as an enjoyable addition to the clubs interior design and atmosphere…

    And no, clubs are not meant to be loud, they are meant to have fantastic sound, which is not measured by decibles.

    Let’s take Canada, as mentioned above, as a perfect example.


  5. Tal Siach.

    Hi Geegee and Noise Hater, that you for coming.

    @Geegee: I would think that clubs are supposed to be loud. With this meter, it would just end up used as a light source, since the lights would always be fully lit.

    @Noise Hater: You bring up a very good point. People would love to see how their actions would cause a reaction, and probably will try to make the lights rise to the top.

  6. Noise Hater.

    Sorry, but it won’t work, it’ll do the opposite. People will see the meter as a carnival “test your strength” game. They’ll try to “ring the bell” by making as much noise as they can, making it a competition for attention and bragging rights. Human nature sucks.


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