The Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, executive producer, actor, and entrepreneur Drake has moved into a new house in Toronto. For house read mansion, of course.
This is a stunning property meticulously conceived for the superstar by renowned Canadian designer and artist Ferris Rafauli. Just take a look at his website to see some of the remarkable, ultra-luxurious homes he’s worked on. And if you want a closer look at Drake Manor go to the May 2020 issue of Architectural Digest, or check out Drake’s video for his song “Tootsie Slide”.
When you have a property of this style and calibre, the piano—there will always be a piano—needs to be something special. And it is. Rafauli teamed up with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for the project and together they approached Bösendorfer with their ideas.
Murakami is known for his “superflat” style which primarily uses two-dimensional imagery. He generally employs bright colours and designs influenced both by traditional woodblock graphics and Japanese comic culture — a mix of classical techniques and contemporary pop art. He previously produced album covers and videos for Kanye West and artworks for Pharell Williams.
Bösendorfer was keen to work with Rafauli and Murakami’s concepts. The prestigious Bösendorfer 280VC Concert Grand was chosen as the canvas, and the various design elements incorporated.
The VC (Vienna Concert) range was initially launched in 2015 with the “mission statement” to meld the Bösendorfer legacy of musical perfection and tradition with 21st-century design and manufacturing technologies.
The Design Elements
The finished instrument has a commanding appearance. One’s attention is immediately drawn to the inside of the lid. This features a tableau of skull-like images forming a somewhat menacing dystopian backdrop. This iconography continues down the tapered leg of the piano, reducing in size until disappearing into the brass ferrule.
The keyboard’s accidentals (the sharps and flats) are colour coordinated with the lid imagery. The key pattern isn’t random, but seems to repeat itself every three octaves (not sure why). The effect though adds to the design’s air of “significance”.
In addition to the Bösendorfer branding, the nameboard is inscribed with a small double-skull logo and the words “Takashi Murakami”. These elements repeat on the side of the piano. Towards the treble-end of the nameboard is Murakami’s stylised signature, the year, and the piano’s edition number.
Bösendorfer has made three of these instruments. The first (1/3 on the nameboard) is obviously in Drake’s home. But there are two other identical (save for the edition number) pianos in existence. Their whereabouts are not currently known.
The pianos are fitted with Yamaha’s Disklavier ENSPIRE PRO technology. This not only plays music from the extensive Bösendorfer/Yamaha Library, but also allows the pianist to record, edit and replay their own performances.
Drake’s Murakami Bösendorfer 280VC can be clearly seen in the aforementioned “Toosie Slide” video, although it isn’t played.