Fazioli has produced two new special edition “art case” pianos for Westbank, Canada’s luxury real-estate development company.
The Floating Fazioli, a truly remarkable piece of design, was produced for Vancouver House, a high-end mixed-use project located on Vancouver’s new waterfront Beach District. And The Origami Fazioli will reside at the Fairmont Hotel, part of the Fairmont Pacific Rim complex also in Vancouver. Interestingly both pianos use the pentagon as a key design element.
The Floating Fazioli
The only part of The Floating Fazioli that touches the ground is the stool. The piano itself floats. And this makes this instrument both visually remarkable and quite unique.
How is this done? The piano itself is, in essence, a Fazioli F156, which weighs 650 pounds (around 300kg). However, that’s just a small part of the overall weight!
The F156 is supported by a very heavy-duty steel bracket anchored to the wall. The bracket consists of five steel plates assembled in an irregular shape and welded together with cross members to form a supporting structure. The stripped-down piano can then be slid in from the front on top of these cross members and held in position.
Further blackened steel elements form the sides, top, and front of the “casework. Some of the steel sections are half an inch thick. Apparently, when assembling the instrument, the fallboard required four men to lift it.
The pedal assembly is connected to the underside of the piano, and a special lid in the shape of an irregular pentagon, attached. The hinge runs along the treble side connected to the wall. This means the lid opens in the opposite direction to all other pianos, but this doesn’t affect the sound of the instrument. This lid is massive, and it alone weighs several hundred pounds.
The overall visual effect is tantalising, but the resident pianist may be a little unnerved when playing certain fortissimo passages—knowing just how heavy the piano is!
The Origami Fazioli
Ten years ago Fazioli, with the Canadian firm of architects McFarlane, Green and Biggar, designed a special edition piano for the Fairmont Hotel. This became known as The Fairmont Fazioli
The $225,000 white satin piano had many parts plated in18K gold, but the stand-out feature was the elaborate three-dimensional laser-cut walnut inlay inside the instrument’s lid. The piano is based on the Fazioli F212, but with different casework, legs and pedal assembly.
Unfortunately, as with many hotel pianos, the instrument was damaged by several “drinks spillage” incidents.
And so after ten years of service, the piano returned to the Fazioli factory for a major refurbishment. The opportunity thus presented itself to remodel the instrument, reflecting the new aesthetics of the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby lounge. Here the piano stands as the centrepiece.
Origami Master Joseph Wu was invited to contribute to the new design by MGB’s Michelle Biggar. Hong Kong-born Wu is known around the world for his origami-based motifs and has produced other creatives for the hotel. Paulo Fazioli himself also made up part of the design team.
The piano features a series of raised pentagons attached to the casework. Each consists of five equilateral triangles. This device also appears in the hotel’s new chandelier, again designed by Wu.
Over the years Westbank has commissioned several other special edition pianos from Fazioli. These include The Kengo Kuma Fazioli, Telus, and The Butterfly Fazioli. Westbank is a company committed to bringing artistry to its developments. Their real estate projects are far from the norm. They employ the best from every discipline, be it architects, designers, or piano manufacturers!
Thanks must go to Westbank, Fazioli Pianoforti spa, and Showcase Pianos (Fazioli’s exclusive British Columbian agent) for their help in preparing this article.
Update (27-Aug-2021): See also The Cloud Fazioli
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