• Lava Lanes

    Stanmore, London

Project Elements: Design & Build, Sound, Lighting, A/V, CCTV

Most people consider a bowling alley to be a family-oriented place with games machines, pool tables, burger bars and kids play areas, but Lava Lanes has strived to offer something different. With a fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar alongside the ten-pin bowling, Lava Lanes provides a unique combination of luxury surroundings and entertainment in one.

Showtec was enlisted to run the project from the initial design stages, through to the construction, decorating and opening of the venue. After many meetings and discussions with the customer, our design team put together a package for the complete project, covering all aspects of the venue. Our construction team then started work on what was then an almost empty shell, with electricians, plumbers and builders all coordinated together by our project manager.

Running straight through the centre of the building are the four bowling lanes. Being the main feature of the venue, we wanted to add something special to make this stand out from any normal bowling alley. To do this we implemented one of our specialist team to design a video mapping system which would integrate with the bowling machines. Keeping with the theme of the venue, a smouldering volcano was projected above each of the lanes, which erupted when any of the bowlers achieved a strike. Using 4 independent projectors, each lane works separately with triggers from the bowling machines. When any bowler gets a strike, the corresponding volcano erupts, then resets back to the dormant state before the next bowler tries. This gives the customers an extra sense of involvement rather than just a simple scoreboard indication.

A number of impressive custom design features were implemented to add to the overall effect of the venue. In the bowling and the bar areas, two walls were fabricated in a ‘wavy’ effect, which ripples along their length. Finished in a custom gold and timber finish, each strip was painstakingly cut to size and hand fitted to the curved surface. Along the ceiling, a row of colour changing LEDs were fitted to shine down onto the walls to add to the effect and to create a subtle changing mood.

As you walk through the front doors, a selection of image and effect projectors cover the walls in a simulated fire and lava effect, immersing you in the experience of the venue. At the base of the stairs, a mirrored glass box was constructed to house a display of gold bowling pins with colour changing LEDs shining through, creating a stunning effect which welcomes people into the venue.

The sound system was designed to be simple to use, with a good quality sound from aesthetically pleasing speakers. We opted to use the Evid series from EV as they provided a perfect solution to fit the requirements. A combination of Evid 6.2, 3.2 and 12.1 bass bins throughout the venue create a warm sound with the capability of higher volume levels when required. Controlled by a Cloud zone system with wall mount remote controls in each area, the system is simple to use with members of staff easily able to change volume levels and source selection. A series of plasma screens were also added to enable to venue to show either DVD video or Sky TV from one of two boxes, by way of a video matrix switcher.

Overall, Lava Lanes offers a very high standard of entertainment to its customers, with a bowling experience that is second to none. This is a great example of how new design ideas can be put into great effect to produce a simply stunning venue.