Wood to Spare: CounterEvolution

One man's bowling lane is another man's desk...or table...or counter-top...or chair. DUMBO-based CounterEvolution has "re-imagined the possibilities of reclaimed bowling lanes." CounterEvolution offers functional art for homes and businesses. As modern bowling alleys do away with their wood lanes in favor of synthetics, CounterEvolution gives new life to the discarded wooden lanes in a sustainable and lasting way.

Jim Malone, the man behind CounterEvolution caught the design bug after building a log cabin in the Catskills in upstate New York. During the construction of his cabin, Jim--a musician by trade--happened upon a slab of old Heart Pine from a defunct bowling alley. He was inspired by the beauty of the old bowling lanes and decided to use some reclaimed wood to create a counter space for his apartment in New York City. From this inspiration, a design business was born.

Design wasn't your background. What was the scariest thing about making the leap from musician to designer?
It wasn't that scary for me because I knew I was approaching it from a different vantage point and I knew that would be enough for me to make it an original concept. In that sense, I wasn't really too worried about being faithful to any traditions in design or woodworking. I was just going with what I knew as a musician and an artist.

How did you start using reclaimed bowling alleys as your inspiration?
I had found a big slab at a reclaimed wood distributor and he told me it was heart pine, which was intriguing to me. So I gave it a shot and the payoff was definitely there once I cleaned it up and discovered what it really looked like. That and the standardized shape of the slats of the bowling lanes was really interesting to me.

As a musician working in recording studios, I knew limitations were a positive thing. To stick to one seemingly limited medium was going to inspire a lot of creativity. As opposed to saying, "I'll work with anything. The world is my oyster!" That can be more overwhelming.

Ever get inspired by other reclaimed lumber?
A lot of things popup. Some are more unique than others and I'm trying to stick to wood species that really are not just made into furniture because they're reclaimed, but because they have something beautiful to offer. I'm also interested in working with other reclaimed materials such as steel, etc.

What's your highest bowling score?
I haven't bowled since before the company started, actually. The last time I bowled was probably when I was in college.

Check out all CounterEvolution has to offer on their website or contact them for an appointment. You can also stop by every 1st Thursday of the month as they open the showroom from 6pm to 9pm for the First Thursday Gallery Walk.

Photo via CounterEvolution.