Audi Design Grand Piano

tags: | in: Industrial Design News 8 July 2009
Audi Design Grand Piano

Audi Design Studio has partnered with Vienna-based piano manufacturer Bösendorfer to create a modern concert grand piano that incorporates the carmaker’s design philosophy. It will be sold at a retail price of 100,000 Euros.

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Audi Design Grand PianoThe Grand Piano will be unveiled on next 16 July 2009 at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt to celebrate the brand’s centenary and will be included in Bösendorfer’s catalogue with a price of approximately 100,000 Euros.

The Vienna-based company already produces several special models, including pianos such as the Brüssel and Edge models (see pictures below), that combine the traditional sound and high quality with a modern design.

From the official Press Release:

A concert grand piano is impressively large, usually black and has three legs to support the body with its typically curved sides. The long tradition that has led to the grand piano has included many
baroque versions that are not ideally matched to Audi’s design language.

Despite this, the Audi Design Studio team in Munich decided to tackle the
task of housing a concert grand piano in an Audi “outer skin”.

Bosendorfer Brussels Bosendorfer Edge
Bösendorfer Brüssel – Designed by Dipl.-Ing. Jürgen Felsenstein, office Nobert Schlesinger Bösendorfer EDGE – Designed by Edelweiss

The question was: where to start? How could Audi’s design philosophy be
interpreted for a grand piano – an instrument with a closely defined form and
function? An active process began, during which the designers came up with a
surprising number of design approaches.

Audi Design Grand Piano“You can imagine the respect with which we approached the challenge of
redesigning a musical instrument”
says Wolfgang Egger, Head of Audi Group
Design. But he and his team made a virtue out of necessity:

“The limitations we
faced were necessary as a means of stimulating our creativity. We were obliged
to study the instrument in depth, and develop an all-embracing concept from the very start. The project was a useful source of experience for our young designers, and will benefit them later when they work on car design.”

The team from Design naturally cooperated closely with the specialists at Bösendorfer, since Audi itself is clearly not in a position to build grand pianos.

Audi Design Grand PianoBösendorfer, on the other hand, has been building high quality acoustic pianos since 1828.

For Audi, the top priority was not to exert any adverse influence on the instrument’s sound.

These
enormously complex articles, with very delicate mechanical elements, call for
precision craft skills, with tolerances down to one five-hundredth of a millimetre.

The strings, from treble to bass, can exert a tension of as much as 20 tons on the
cast metal frame inside the soundbox. The vibration frequencies and sound
quality have to be precisely correct; there is no room for compromises.

Although various elements directly associated with the case of the piano were modified,
the acoustics were unaffected. But the Audi Design grand piano is certainly “different”, even at first glance.

Audi Design Grand Piano Audi Design Grand Piano Audi Design Grand Piano

“Generous surface areas ensure formal clarity;
there are no decorative applications, the edges and lines are sharply drawn, the
joints logically positioned. All these are important aspects of the Audi design,”
says Designer Philip Schlesinger, who implemented the project at the Concept
Design Studio in Munich.

Audi Design Grand PianoOne of the most striking features is the lid, which
extends without a break down to the base – an Audi innovation that yields a large, one-piece surface.

From above, the lid is seen to be recessed into the main case. In the side view, the elegant curve of the treble side is not interrupted by a joint line.

The
underside of the case is allowed to rise moderately at the rear, away from the
performer.

This is an optical device: “It draws the observer’s attention subtly to
the pianist,”
Schlesinger explains.

To reduce the sense of weight on the treble
side, a slim aluminium-look leg is used. The same simple style with its hint of the
technical world is applied to the pedal lyre.

The keyboard has no wings at the ends. In the same spirit of purist design, the
designers have concealed the hinges in the lid above the keyboard. The lid itself
can be opened at an unobtrusively integrated handle.

Audi Design Grand PianoAnother Audi idea is to be
found directly beneath the keyboard – one that does away with the risk of bruised

or scratched knees: “The lower front edge of the keyboard housing and the beam
used to make it more rigid have been rounded off. This new outline is distinctly
better from an ergonomic point of view: it protects the pianist’s knees,”
says
Schlesinger.

When the main lid has been raised and secured with the two-position metal prop,
the interior catches the eye immediately. Whereas the classic piano black finish
predominates on the outside, the designers have chosen typical Audi colours for
the interior. The cast frame is in grey instead of the usual bronze colour, and the
felt damper strips in natural white instead of wine red.

The Audi Design signet
has been greatly reduced in emphasis to harmonise with the instrument’s overall
appearance: it appears on the right front edge of the keyboard lid as a precisely
formed, polished stainless steel inlay. As on all pianos from this Vienna
manufacturer, the Bösendorfer name is displayed above the centre of the
keyboard.

Audi Design Grand Piano Audi Design Grand Piano Audi Design Grand Piano

The decision to design an Audi concert grand piano is a logical consequence of many years of cultural involvement by the brand with the four-ring emblem. This includes the high-quality jazz meetings at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt where the
Audi Design grand piano will in future be seen and heard.

The Audi Design grand piano will have its world premiere at a major ceremony held on July 16, 2009 in the Audi Forum Ingolstadt to celebrate Audi’s centenary. The new instrument can be ordered via the Internet at audi@bosendorfer.com.

(Source: Audi)

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