Steinway Art Case Pianos
Left, "Reflections",Center "Reflections in Cardinalwood", Right "Europa"
The Steinway Art Case piano is considered by many as the highest visual expression of this instrument. Few are made. Steinway commissions individual veneer artists to design and fabricate the veneers which are then applied to the wood substrate at their factory in Queens, New York City.
My first Art Case piano was "Reflections", in 2000. It was followed by "Reflections in Cardinalwood" in 2001. In 2005 the fully bookmatched burl "Europa" was commissioned, and in 2008 a second iteration, "Europa II" was produced. The most recent piano, "Europa III" is currently the featured piano on the Steinway & Sons website, accompanied by a detailed description of the design considerations in producing the layout (click "View Details" on the right side of the page) and an "About the Designer" page.
The piano is an interesting and challenging commission, but filled with unique opportunities. Panel shapes and configurations include rectangular, rectangular with a single curved edge, flat with a curving and recurved edge, curving dimensionally, at varying angles from each other, and one major part, the lid, is articulated. For each piano I have taken the terms "rhythm" and "variations on a theme" and applied them as the basis for the design of the veneers.
Photos are courtesy Steinway & Sons, New York.