There’s something about table games that makes you want to hide them away as soon as you’ve extruded as much fun as possible out of them. An air of abandonment soon settles on the same surfaces that once held such fascination. Foosball, ping-pong, pinball, even billiards become sad stowaways, consigned to the shadowy margins of life’s voyage.
But that’s about to change.
Designers are doing for table games what megayacht designers have been doing all along. They are wedding power to simplicity: the power to set the most sedentary of guests into joyful motion, combined with a simplicity of form that makes this new table generation of feel inevitable and right. If they were once folded up and stashed out of site, they are destined to occupy pride of place.
Tennis the Menace. “Why does a sport that people are so passionate about always have to look the same?,” asked table tennis champ turned bar game entrepreneur Michael Zaretsky in a call to his office in Los Angeles.
“Why can’t we apply our design aesthetic to something we love?” rejoined Zaretsky’s creative director Bernard Semerdjian. The answer to their questions has now materialized in the ghostly, carbon-black shapeliness of their Stealth table, inspired by the bomber of the same name. $70,000 from http://www.11ravens.com/
May We Tickle Your Teckell? Maybe you’ve seen kids going crazy over these foosball tables, leaving twisted wrecks within hours. Never fear though for this rock-solid Cristallino Gold table by architect turned entrepreneur Gianfranco Barban, whose studio lies near Venice. When Barban was a kid, he recalls growing up in his father’s carpentry workshop, “amidst various types of materials, infinite tools. I never wanted to go on vacation, but desperately wanted to stay home to help my papa.” The company name Teckell owes itself to one of Barban’s master craftsmen, a take on the football term tackle. Price on request. http://www.teckell.com
Never Shuffle Bored. Miami-based architect Lee Benson sketched his billiard table, The Predator, twenty years ago and never stopped. Why design custom homes, office buildings, and retail stores, he figured — and then fill them with dull furnishings, especially with games that lie idle most of the time? His Force 12 Shuffleboard in birch wood with black accents and hand-finished aluminum comes with programmable LED lighting and custom pucks. $22,000 – $30,000. http://www.hurricanebilliards.com/
Carom-ba! Like Benson, Gregg Brodarick is an architect turned table game entrepreneur. Brodarick who divides his time between Milan and the US, asked the two brothers behind Adriano Design, Davide and Gabriele of Torino for a disruptive billiard table design to help launch his luxury lifestyle brand Calma E Gesso. Calma, says Brodarick refers to that moment of reflection a player takes before a difficult shot, carefully considering his next move while rotating chalk – ‘gesso’ – on the tip of his cue stick. The Filotto Eight Foot Pool Table, $66,000, including accessories. http://www.calmaegesso.com/
If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call?
Back in the rough and tumble of Chicago in the 1930’s, Sam Stern helped launch the pinball industry. One of Stern Pinball’s latest offerings along with Star Trek, Elvis, Game of Thrones is Ghostbusters. The Premium Edition features a moving interactive Slimer toy target, traditional two-way ramps, magnetic diverters, scoring switches along with a ghost hologram animations, and a “paranormal” magnetic action slingshot. $7, 595 http://www.sternpinball.com/
All’s Fair in Love and War. Can you picture your Dream Team of friends and family engaged in a brutal football battle, or soccer battle as it is known in the US? How would it be to set some against the others — not in a malicious way, of course, but just to see what would happen? Well, now you can more than picture them, you can actually play them with The Opus table. Just send in some photos of whomever you like and, voila, Eleven Forty Co will micro-cast all your player heads using their exclusive Doppelganger computer technology. From £15,000 http://www.elevenforty.com
© Louis Postel 2017, first published in Showboats International