American piano maker Steinway & Sons has unveiled the latest edition in its Limited Edition series of grand pianos — The Gran Nichetto.
Steinway releases just one or two Limited Edition models each year. And these pianos are often born from a collaboration between Steinway and a significant contemporary artist or designer. In the case of this new instrument, Steinway engaged the award-winning designer Luca Nichetto.
Nichetto founded his design studio in Italy back in 2006, and the company now has offices both in Venice and Stockholm. It specialises in furniture, product and industrial design, and in architecture.
Nichetto has worked with such brands as Hermès, Land Rover, De Le Espada, Cassina, Swatch, and Ginori 1735. In 2019 the studio won a coveted “Best of the Best” Red Dot Award for Astro (an electric heater that also purifies the air). The collaboration with Steinway is Nichetto Studio’s first foray into the world of musical instruments.
Work on the Steinway Gran Nichetto Limited Edition started over four years ago. Venice’s gondolas were Nichetto’s inspiration for the instrument. His childhood memories of these vessels were of black shiny objects with sleek smooth lines and pleasing contours slipping through the dark waters of Venice’s canals. The Gran Nichetto was to be a homage to this city.
“I approached it in the manner of a car designer: I just designed the fairing, I didn’t want to touch the engine. The problem was trying to produce a ‘contemporary’ piece, without overplaying the decoration, while sticking to an archetypal Steinway.”Luca Nichetto, April 2022
Although most of the instrument has a highly polished finish, fine Italian leather is used as a contrast on the music desk panel and the desk plates.
The body of the piano sits on elegantly sculptured legs. And the pedal lyre is one of the piano’s most distinguishing features. It comprises a single piece of laminated wood, which has been carefully bent to shape, and fitted with either brass or stainless steel pedals.
As with most of Steinway’s Limited Editions, this piano is built around the Model B — a 6ft 11in (211cm) grand. The Gran Nichetto weighs 760 lbs (345kg).
Three variations are available…
- The Walnut Veneer: hand-selected American walnut, with the keylid and inside of the pedal lyre finished in high-polish Urushi Red accents, and fitted with stainless-steel hardware.
- The Midnight Red: hand-selected Macassar ebony, with the case, top stick, and legs finished in high-polish Midnight Red, and fitted with brass hardware.
- The Black Polished: high-polish black ebony finish and fitted with stainless-steel hardware.
Slightly confusingly, the Urushi Red elements of The Walnut Veneer version initially give it a “redder” appearance than The Midnight Red variant.
The Steinway Gran Nichetto is hand-crafted in the company’s New York workshops. And only 50 models will ever be produced — after all, it is a Limited Edition! Every piano comes fitted with Steinway’s SPIRIO|r high-resolution player piano system, and is supplied with an Apple iPad Pro.
US retail prices are as follows… The Midnight Red: $349,900; The Black Polished: $299,900; The Walnut Veneer: $429,900. More information can be found on the Steinway website.