In September, at London’s Olympia, for Design Week, I met this great guy András.
It was his very unique product that caught my eye, with attention to detail and a level of up cycling that begged the question. Are these coffee tables or works of art?
His company Altars Furniture is based in Hungary and creates bespoke one off pieces of furniture like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s where pinball machines go to be resurrected.
Now let me tell you, these are not for the highstreet. They are not for most mere mortals. Infact, it would be a happy far out fantasy project where I get to pimp out some super star DJ’s games room or maybe a new uber bar that might look something like this…
Then I’d call him up.
However, we can all appreciate fine craftsmanship and that’s why when I spoke to him this week, I decided I’d ask him a few questions and get him on the blog.
Here’s how that went down.
Hi András, how long have you been doing this and what got you into it?
I have been doing this for over two years now. The period was really about getting manufacturing right, setting up the workshop, etc. I collect pinballs, and the first coffee table was about preserving a beautiful playfield of a game that had gone for good.
It all started then. First we just converted any game, then went on to repurpose more consciously.
What’s your oldest pinball machine?
My oldest machine is a Xenon from 1980. Its in brilliant shape, and the artwork is amazing.
Its still fun to play, and it was the first game to feature a human (female) voice. Very sexy actually.
Older games are pretty, but usually quiet slow.
The oldest game we have re-purposed was a Safari from 1968. This one didn’t work though.
How long does to take to make the transformations into the finished pieces?
Depending on the complication, designing takes about a month, in creative waves. As the Arcade resurrection line is very limited edition, these are like always making prototypes. Manufacturing is usually 2 months.
You mention on the website alot of your pieces are interactive, what more can you tell us about that?
This means that some gadgets move, certain functions (depending on the game) are intact, but the game isn’t fully functional. Feature like lighting programs, moving robots, active flippers, sounds, opening drawers, etc.
What materials do you use in the transformations.
The core of the pieces is usually mdf, if not glass. We have used dilithium crystals, real meteorites, cowhide, bull bones, vintage casino chips, KISS passes from 1979, church organ pipes, even a toy monkey.
Have you got any interesting tales of where you’ve acquired pinball machines or their former owners?
The l-playfield used on our Peters Apple table is from Serbia. It survived the Balkan wars inside a hood in the city of Nis.
I bought it through Facebook while driving towards a summer vacation in Greece. I saw this really rough looking guy by the highway (Called Suzan!??), stopped for a moment, gave him some cash, then drove on. My prayers where answered, and the game arrived a week later…
Can you elaborate any more of the story about Suzan, what made you stop to talk to him?
🙂 I have contacted him as a complete stranger on Facebook beforehand:)
He didn’t speak english, I didn’t speak serbian, but still I trusted him for some reason.
So I had a rendezvous with a complete stranger on a serbian highway, handed him cash, the drove on:) Dumb, I know…
I’d like to see The Droid and The Shuttle in a super high end underground bunker bar like my picture above. Crestron integrated technology, dart board, pool table, projector – the absolute ultimate in gentleman’s modern times speak easy. Infact it would be the perfect venue to host the Star Wars premiere after party in December! Ok, I’m getting carried away now but my point is, that would be my No.1 spot to showcase your work to stars, celebs and anyone else that would invest in such a bold and beautiful creation.
If you could have anyone as your No.1 cool customer, who would it be?
Thats a difficult one.. Probably Elon Musk as a real life Tony Stark, or the singer Ryan Adams (NOT Bryan), I just love the fella. Anybody who is a free spirit, who appreciates attention to detail, and has the budget:) (ps if you don’t know Elon Musk, google him, he is the entrepreneur super dude of all entrepreneurs)
Can you tell us anything exciting about up coming projects?
We are looking to build the copy of the Lost Arch from the first Indy movie around an Indiana Jones pinball, if the client approves. It should be a lot of fun, and gold plating.
Thanks András for your time in answering these questions 🙂
His creations range from £4,500 to £7,500 and are available through the website – altars.co.
I’d need an over sized coaster before setting down a cuppa on one of these beauties though, what do you think?