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Project: Leith Theatre Organ Bar

A dream design and install of a bar using an old organ

I was asked to design and build the bar for the revived Leith Theatre. The brief was to build a bar for the upcoming festival with a capable artist colleague Roland – with one stipulation – that we had to use an old organ that was sitting in the corner of the theatre. The experience was a great combination of building skills and artistic freedom.

From the start I wanted the bar to be a circle section, to match the many curves of the Leith Theatre, so from the start that threw up possibilities but also problems. The organ was incorporated as a suspended sections above the bar which was a joy to plan and execute once the idea was born – as well as the back-bar for the rest of the other organ parts. I had to remind myself of Pythagoras and geometric equations to calculate the hang of the organ from the roof.

The main bar’s curved front caused some issues in creating just the right curve from flat framing timber and sheets without the internal stresses in the timber causing the bar to distort, but we reused some timber left over from the last productions in the 1980s to fix the problems and Roland provided the finishing touch with the faded aqua aluminium body of an ice-cream van.