Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Jazz is a language. The live performance of jazz engages an audience in a conversation that is both interactive and communicative. The audience benefit in a live concert is enhanced by the spontaneity and body language of the group.

In the jazz ensemble it is impossible for musicians to communicate vocally. It would ruin the moment for the leader to shout, "CODA!" over the music.(although it is acceptable for Count Basie to say, "One more time" at the end of a selection)

In small ensembles signals are given by facial expressions. In an arrangement that is not penned, the leader will give a slight nod. It is as important as eye contact in a verbal conversation.It is therefore imperative that the musicians see each other. This is not readily possible for the piano player because of the sounding board.

Pianists who are leaders are constantly turning their heads to make contact and communicate with other members of their group.

In 1931 there was a popular Danish Jazz band leader and  pianist named Leo Mathiesen. He was friends with the noted Danish designer Poal Henningsen. Mathiesen told Henningsen about how hard to see his bass player while on stage due to the opaque wooden piano lid. Poal had an idea.

Poul Henningsen introduced his futuristic design in 1931.  At that time, it was a total departure from the common perception of aesthetic piano design, and remains an outlier in the world of design cabinets to this day.  True to the design ideal, "Form follows function", the transparent lid and desk lend an extraordinary and delicate visual impression while allowing the player to see his entire ensemble, wherever they might be placed.

The piano is on display in several museums of art and design, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen. It was also used by Alvar Aalto for the music room in his Villa Mairea.

Poul Henningsen Grand Piano design features Plexiglas fallboard that unveils the inside mechanism, highlighting the beauty and precision of the inner workings of the instrument, now crafted by Blüthner. This piano becomes timeless Scandinavian icon which suits today’s modern environment.

The creative genius Poul Henningsen introduced his mind-altering design in 1931 - and it still belongs to the future. Look ahead twenty years. Now look again. There is nothing else like it, and there never will be. It is the first time you see a grand piano in a new light - and it changes everything.

The wooden box is turned into a thing of transparent beauty. It doesn't take up space - it is space. And it creates a place. A place for thought.

To quote Poal Henningsen, "This is how music looks. And what you see is what you hear - the sound is brilliant and crystal clear like the concept of the design itself. If you ever get to play it, that is. Because you can't take your eyes off it."

It still belongs to the future. It is the most exclusive piano.

It brings style and beauty to any surrounding and interior project.

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Comment by Cap'n Tony on September 18, 2013 at 8:17am

Great article, John!

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