Ellis Design Studio was recently commissioned by the designers behind Flight Club, to reinvent the classic game, shuffleboard, by updating it for the 21st Century urban social landscape. Presenting, Electric Shuffle.
Electric Shuffle delivers a contemporary, experiential reimagining of this vintage game within a beautifully designed, conceptual space devised by the studio. The game’s revival is facilitated within Electric Shuffle’s first London establishment in the heart of Canary Wharf, within a 9,000 sq ft venue set over two floors.
As part of the brief, the game of shuffleboard has been redesigned and ‘electrified’, therefore the Studio took inspiration from the pioneers of electrical technology, in particular the work of Nikola Tesla, an inventor, electrical engineer and futurist whose designs revolutionised the use of electricity.
The Studio has created an interior in which each detail resonates those references of the past and, entwines them with cutting edge gaming technology to form an engaging and original, contemporary, multi-layered scheme.
Alan Ellis, MD, Ellis Design Studio, commented “The spirit of the design has been forged from these diverse influences producing a scheme which is vibrant, contemporary, unique and electric. The fusion of these ideas manifested in a design scheme we describe as the ‘beautiful factory’. The idea is to celebrate the beauty in utility and reimagine and celebrate the industrial/Deco inspired aesthetic with a nod to the genius of Tesla.”
The essence of the interior design is a blend of both the glamour of the Art Deco period of 1940s Palm Springs fused with the grandeur and faded elegance of early 20th century power plants and factories. The factory-inspired aesthetic is both utilitarian and industrial, yet implicitly beautiful and works as a perfect counterpoint to the opulence of the Deco inspired elements.
The Shuffle Table
The beautifully designed shuffleboard tables have been completely re-envisioned by the studio to form a central focus as social hubs within the scheme. The tables feature a high gloss custom inlaid timber surface manufactured in the United States specifically for Electric Shuffle. The table has been painstakingly designed and calibrated after significant focus group research to ensure that it not only looks beautiful but works perfectly for guests and blends seamlessly with the vast array of technology discreetly incorporated within the design. Materials and lighting have been carefully selected to not only showcase the table as a key design feature but also integrate the gaming technology requirements.
The table design is inspired by the aesthetic of the grand ocean liners, on which the game had its original heyday. Curvilinear forms in the timber and decorative copper pipework reinforce the aesthetic along with inlaid copper details, leather upholstered detailing and laser cut metal elements, which bring together a mix of classic and contemporary, Art Deco and industrial.
The Main Bar
The main bar on the ground floor is a dramatic double height, power plant inspired design and pays homage to both the 1940’s factory aesthetic and the early designs of electrical transmission experiments. The large central bespoke rotating light feature which dominates the centre of the double height void space at the main bar is suggestive of an electrical turbine and the copper accented fluted timber detailing creates the illusion of innumerable copper tubes conducting wiring to ‘power’ the venue.
The central light feature has been developed in conjunction with specialist lighting designers to create the illusion of simultaneous clockwise & counterclockwise rotation, a movement reminiscent of mechanical cogs.
The back bar features an intricately tiled arch, which is inspired by vintage power plant aesthetic, combined with curvilinear, Deco inspired forms. The custom printed wallpaper used at high level evokes a sense of movement and lustre; the pattern is suggestive of patinated, rusted metals and the beauty of polychromatic swirling oil slicks.
Featuring a custom-made ceramic bull nosed top and bespoke fluted porcelain tiles, the bar front includes industrial-inspired strapping and rivet detailing. The base of the bar incorporates a back-lit glass block detailing, typical of aspects found in mid-century Bauhaus factories.
The bar also features custom-designed, pylon-inspired lights suspended in the double height void and laser cut and mesh balustrade detailing inspired by both industrial and Art Deco influences.
The First-Floor Bar
The first-floor bar features a contemporary re-interpretation of utilitarian metal factory panelling rendered in vivid electric blue, which has been overlaid with embellished meshes and bespoke bronze domes, in a pattern reminiscent of electrical circuitry.
The studio has commissioned artisan ceramicists to create oversized decorative domed ‘rivet’ features and bespoke mid-century inspired lighting for the columns which flank the bar.
The first-floor feature wall is another key design element within the space. The design is intended as a digital re-imagination of the ground floor ‘turbine’ light feature. This contemporary art-inspired piece reflects on how traditionally the circular rotation of a factory turbine was synonymous with industry and activity. In a modern context, the digital version, a multicoloured spinning wheel, has become a contemporary version of this idea.
The freestanding tables were crafted bespoke for the space and the materials selected for these elements include custom designed brass tabletop lighting and a recycled composite plastic tabletop material. The recycled tabletop from Smile Plastics has a pixelated pattern, suggestive of television static, linking with the electrical inspired aesthetic of the scheme. The use of a recycled material was very important to the Studio. As the design concept is based around the reinvented factory aesthetic, the use of a material recovered from preceding industrial processes adds a contemporary nod to the idea of responsible industry.
Control Panel Wall
Another reference to the industrial/electrical heritage is the custom designed ‘Control Panel’ feature wall on the ground floor. The Control Panel has been designed to create a beautiful backdrop to the space with ‘sound-to-light’ activated lighting and vintage inspired buttons & dials. The idea is for the venue to feel as if it’s ‘alive’ and ‘powered up’.
The ceiling lighting is custom designed and pays homage to the Bauhaus designs of Walter Gropius, who pioneered the reimagining of workplace & factory design in the 1940’s. The table lighting is created bespoke to be suggestive of electrical components, and the lighting in the double height staircase space is inspired by the rounded forms of ceramic electrical resisters.
The recalibrated beauty of a faded & distressed aesthetic has been echoed in the hand painted scenic effects to the walls throughout the venue. The approach for this element of the design was inspired by the colours and textures found in rusted and patinated metals, for the ground floor spaces, and the unexpected delicate beauty of mould blooms and the faded striations of watermarks, for the first-floor walls.
Each individual piece of the scheme has been carefully considered by the studio to link a key element of the aesthetic, bringing together the lustre of the Art Deco, the beautiful utility of early power station and factory design and the unexpected beauty of aged metals, whilst also paying homage to the pioneers of electrical technology and it’s transformative, modernising effect on the reinvented game of Electric Shuffle.