Steinway unveils new grand piano design by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

Left, one of the new Steinway models designed by Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance (right) (Steinway & Sons / Richard Wright)
Left, one of the new Steinway models designed by Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance (right) (Steinway & Sons / Richard Wright)

Piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons has unveiled a limited edition of its classic grand piano, in collaboration with renowned French designer, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance.

The unique look was unveiled on Monday evening (13 November) during a private concert from pianist Yuja Wang at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

In what could be deemed a subtle nod to his national heritage, Duchaufour-Lawrance selected veneers in ivory white, midnight blue and a red stain, each complimented by fittings in silver or gold colour.

Duchaufour-Lawrance, known for a number of memorable designs including the iconic egg-shaped pods in the bathrooms at London restaurant Sketch, said it was a “dream” to be able to work with Steinway.

“Music, just like water, ebbs and flows, the constant flow of water erodes rocks on the shore over time drawing shapes and stretched shapes on their surface,” he said, discussing what inspired his latest work.

“I thought how curved traces of ink become notes on paper and how those notes become music that travels as if ripples in the air. The immateriality of sound, the fluidity of time and the resonance with space combined with these sensual lines were my inspiration.”

Duchaufour-Lawrance was first approached by Steinway around three years ago.

He told The Independent that the initial idea for his design came to him relatively quickly and that, despite being an amateur pianist himself, he felt a strong emotional connection to the instrument.

“It’s funny, because there’s a geometry in the lines that I haven’t done for some time – the idea of the line that never ends,” he said.

 (Steinway & Sons)
(Steinway & Sons)

He admitted some nerves before the grand unveiling – “there’s a fear because you’re in the middle of history” – but those were quelled by the fact that Steinway is only releasing a limited number in his design.

Just 18 of the Noé limited editions will be available as a concert grand D-274 model, while 88 of Steinway’s B-211 models will be released worldwide.

Guido Zimmermann, president of Steinway & Sons Europe, said in a statement: “We choose our design collaborators very carefully. Noé had a clear vision for Steinway & Sons – one that resonated on an emotional level, inspired by nature, it complimented the original design – modernising and elegantly softening it.

“We are very proud of the finished instrument. Our craftswomen and men at the Hamburg Factory have done an exceptional job of marrying Noé’s creative artistry with our own time-honoured craft skills.

“Each Noé Limited Edition is a true work of art with our goal to further spread the joy of music.”