The GPX-F1 Facet Grand Piano won the Grand Prize in the Roland Digital Piano Design Awards back in 2015. This competition challenged product designers around the world to come up with a ground-breaking brand new digital piano concept. There were over international 120 entries, and the winning design was the creation of American Jong Chan Kim.
In 2019 Roland decided to turn Kim’s ideas into an actual working instrument. The company assembled a small design team at their headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan. Using Roland’s latest PureAcoustic modelling software and their Acoustic Projection System a fully functioning GPX-F1 Facet Grand Piano was constructed. And it was unveiled to the world at this week’s CES (2020) exhibition in Las Vegas.
The original design was developed to be both elegant and unique. Inspired by crystalline shapes, it’s stylish eye-catching appearance is extremely angular, further enhanced with a high-gloss black finish.
Concept Piano Reality
And the way the instrument is amplified is “thinking outside of the box”…literally! Kim wanted the piano to have a super-slim futuristic design, but loudspeakers are bulky and somewhat incompatible with his ambitious ideas. To solve this problem all the amplification system is housed in a base (floor) unit. The slim body of the piano sits above this section, and appears to float above it.
The sound from the speakers is projected upwards through a large aperture in the middle of the instrument. The opened lid then reflects the music towards the listener/audience — just like a traditional acoustic grand piano. This actually “spreads” the sound. The base unit can also project visual images upwards onto the lid.
Initially, a thin custom-designed touch-screen control panel was to run just above the keys (see top image), however, the 2020 model uses a more conventional rectangular Android-powered screen. This provides access to apps offering tutorials and digital music scores.
Like the new Roland GO:PIANO88, the GPX-F1 concept piano is Alexa enabled. This gives hands-free control for composing and arranging.
In addition to appearing at CES 2020, the piano will also be on show at the 2020 Winter NAMM shows held nearby in Anaheim, California (16-19 January).
There are no plans to release the GPX-F1 as a production model at present. More information can be found on the Roland website.