Spare Table – ‘Bowling Alley Slab’ Dining Table


Made with a Rock Maple bowling alley slab and folded and welded mild steel, powder coated in matt ‘Yellow Gold’. Its Industrial aesthetic and heavy nature are contrasted with thin materials and tapered legs in an effort to lighten the overall feel of the table. The bright yellow colour choice contributes to its industrial aesthetic, referencing a colour very similar to that of safety, often seen in factories for its precautionary ability. In addition to this, the yellow legs also emit an enjoyable energy, which should offer itself to those who share it.
The thick slab of rock maple, formerly a ‘ten pin bowling’ aisle, sports several contrasting dots in a darker colour. The dots, which previously functioned as indicators for bowlers, now act as a reminder of the materials past life. In addition to this the bowling alley slab has laser etched sides, reading; ‘1963 Northcote Bowl – 166 Victoria Road’ in documentation of its specific former life.

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The Northcote Bowl is of considerable historical, architectural and aesthetic significance. Historically, it is significant as a rare survivor of the tenpin bowling boom of the early 1960s. Since the closure, demolition or conversion of most of its early counterparts in the metropolitan area, it is now one of only four 1960s bowling centres that still operate in suburban Melbourne. With others at Chadstone, Mentone and Moorabbin, the Northcote example is of especial note as the only intact survivor in the outer northern and eastern areas. Purpose-built bowling alleys at Hawthorn, Camberwell, Heidelberg, Essendon, St Kilda and Box Hill have all been demolished, while others at Ringwood, Preston, Dandenong and Frankston have closed and been altered beyond recognition. Three other centres that were fitted out in disused theatres, at Northcote (High Street), Caulfield and Coburg, have also been converted to other uses, and now demonstrate little, if anything, of their former lives as bowling alleys.

The Northcote Bowl is also of interest as one of Victoria’s largest bowling alleys. The Moorabbin centre, which opened in late 1962 with 28 lanes, remained the largest until the 20-lane Northcote Bowl was extended in 1974 with ten additional lanes.

The building is significant for its highly distinctive facade. Although starker than some of the lively Featurist-style bowling alleys built in Victoria, the use of parabolic arches of varied sizes is unusual. This is not just a unique expression amongst bowling alleys in Victoria, but is rarely seen in post-war architecture in general. The eye-catching illuminated signpost on the street, surmounted by an over scaled bowling pin, is not only a significant visual element in its own right, but also a rare surviving example of its type.

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