There is an exciting new project taking shape in Edinburgh. Plans are afoot to build a 100 seater, “playable” amphitheatre constructed entirely from unwanted pianos. It is known as the Pianodrome.
This is the brainchild of Tim Vincent-Smith and Matt Wright, two creative artists from the Scottish capital. They, and their dedicated team, intend to take over 50 unwanted upright pianos and turn them into an artspace. This will be an interactive sculpture that can serve as an acoustic concert venue, a lecture theatre, a workshop space, a performance area, or a even playground. The Pianodrome is also a musical instrument itself!
Five of the pianos will be tuned and available to play, whilst the others are used to build a circle of tiered seating. The Pianodrome incorporate a geodesic dome to protect it, and its participants, from the elements.
This image shows one of the five “wedges”, each of which incorporates a playable piano (bottom right) and a set of tiered seating. Two of these wedges are clearly visible in the above artist’s impression.
The company set up to realise this project, the Pianodrome Community Interest Company, has already tested the concept. In 2017 they built a mini 30-seater Baby Pianodrome, which can currently be seen and enjoyed at The Forge, Fountainbridge in Edinburgh. The project seeks to give a new lease of life to older “retired” instruments.
The company have already rescued 65 uprights from a professional piano mover who was going to burn them. The Pianodrome project strives to re-imagine what pianos are, turning them away from the rubbish dump and towards something new and astounding.
Edinburgh Festival World Premiere
The city’s Royal Botanic Gardens is supporting the project. The Pianodrome will premiere on the gardens’ Pyrus Lawn during the world famous Edinburgh Festival in August 2018. A series of live performances, lectures, talks and workshops are planned throughout the festival.
The company’s directors have an impressive history delivering this kind of project. Vincent-Smith designed and built the interior of Atlantis Books in Oia in Santorini, Greece – listed in National Geographic magazine’s top 10 bookshops in the world. Wright has, within the auspices of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, produced many innovative and award-winning events designed to popularise science.
Both collaborators also hope to generate international interest in the project. They are keen to enthuse other cities to re-purpose their unwanted instruments, rather than consign them to landfill or the incinerator.
A crowdfunding campaign exists to help finance the project.
75% of the £10,000 (UK pounds) initial target has already been pledged. Help, however, is needed to reach the full amount—and there are just a few days left. So please take a look at Pianodrome’s Crowdfunder page. There are some interesting piano-related “gifts” for those who donate.
Images and Photos: The Pianodrome Community Interest Company
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