Ask someone to name a piano brand and invariably they’ll say, Steinway. Be honest, it’s tough to think of another! In the nigh 200 years, they’ve been with us, they’ve become part of mainstream culture. For this article, we’re taking a look at some of their most beautiful creations, their Art Cases.
Steinway & Sons, manufacturer of some of the world’s most beautiful pianos, has survived the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, two World Wars and a Cold War while continuing to stay relevant for more than 167 years.
Throughout the years, Steinway & Sons have collaborated with some of the most notable artists and designers worldwide to create a unique series of pianos that reimagine what uncompromising expression looks like: the Steinway & Sons Art Cases.
These grand pianos combine classic Steinway craftsmanship with inspired and bold designs, making each piano a one-of-a-kind musical instrument and a piece of art, enticing both senses of ears and eyes.
On some occasions, these rare Steinway & Sons grand pianos have become historical museum pieces, such as the art cases created to commemorate the 100,000th and 300,000th pianos built – both gifted to the White House. #100,000, a gilded and painted grand piano which had been given to the White House in 1903 (and is now on exhibition in the Smithsonian Institution), was replaced in 1938 to mark piano #300,000.
This Steinway & Sons Art Case features exquisite gold leaf decoration representing five musical forms indigenous of America; the three gilded mahogany legs are carved as American eagles.
Another Art Case hard to miss is the Steinway & Sons Chihuly Olympia, designed by American master glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.
This piece features a lime green exterior, neon yellow and orange keys, the Model D was originally unveiled at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002.
The lid features a series of winter images made up of bright colours that represent the Olympic spirit, a clear glass piano desk and a translucent glass top, the first-ever designed for a Steinway piano.
Showcased at the World Fair Shanghai in 2010 and owned by a private art collector, the Sound of Harmony is a beautiful example of an Art Case grand piano: decorated with inlays of 40 different kinds of wood including ebony, ashwood and rosewood, the lid replicates artwork by Chinese painter Shi Qi.
In 2015, Steinway & Sons marked another milestone with the unveiling of its 600,000th piano: The Fibonacci. Designed by custom furniture designer Frank Pollaro, the piano was created to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to uncompromising craftsmanship.
The piano’s veneer features the iconic Fibonacci spiral made entirely from six individual logs of Macassar Ebony; the lines of the spiral on the top of the piano’s lid are projected down to its unique curved base.
These are just a few examples of the exceptional one-of-a-kind Art Cases that Steinway & Sons has crafted throughout the years. Whether positioned in the White House; in museums or libraries; at the Olympics Games or World Fairs, or in private homes across the globe: the iconic Steinway & Sons Art Cases are all a celebration of craftsmanship, culture and art.
For more information on Steinway & Sons, visit www.steinway.co.uk.
Read more art and design-related articles in our dedicated section here.
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