Carmakers these days don't just make money by selling cars; they are also selling a brand. That means they make products that evoke the feeling of their cars — with items ranging from driving gloves, bicycles, and headphones. Now Peugeot is getting in on the game of extending its brand with a move we've seen from Audi before: design a piano.
Peugeot's Design Lab division partnered with the world's oldest piano makers, the French artisans at Pleyel. The result is a radical makeover to the traditional grand piano that looks like a single-person spacecraft. Okay, well, maybe it just looks like the car of the future. The point is that it looks sleek and fast.
The partnership with two-centuries-old piano manufacturer Pleyel wasn't just about giving the piano a modern look. Together the companies worked on how to make the redesign better for both the player and the listener.
Engineers from the two companies employed some new techniques in the actual mechanics of the piano. They lowered it, aligning the cover and keyboard and allowing the audience a complete view of the pianist's hands, which engages a viewer more in a performance by adding a visual element it.
While the body and soundboard are made from traditional wood, and the central frame is made from steel, the team pushed some boundaries in other areas. The lid and single, cantilevered leg are made from carbon fiber, which amps up sound projection and reduces weight. The leg has also been filled with foam to help amplify the effects from the soundboard.
The Peugeot team added elements inspired by its work with autos. The designers developed an entirely new method of opening the lid by mimicking how a car's tailgate opens. They added this self-supporting system, which allows the lid to open with one hand.
The piano still retains Pleyel's classic black lacquer finish — and although that is Pleyel's tradition it also works well with the sleek branding element Peugot has brought to the table.
Gilles Vidal, Peugeot's Director of Styling, wants the world to know that this is not just a concept plaything, but also a true collaboration bringing the best of what two companies specialize in to the table. With the sleek and innovative styling evocative of a car, and enhanced sound quality and amplification, it seems they team achieved their goal of creating a new breed of piano.
There is no purchasing information on the piano, but given the fact like it could handle the Autobahn before parking in a concert hall it is likely to be expensive.