If you’ve ever been asked by a friend to help move their piano, you know that it’s no easy feat. Pianos are ruthlessly heavy and unwieldy. Future Piano is changing that with a new piano design that lowers the weight without compromising the sound. Their design takes a grand piano and stands it on its head—literally: Future Piano’s design is a vertical piano.
Turning the piano vertical has resulted in a piano that is 82kg instead of the 450kg of a standard grand piano. It’s designed to be able to be lifted up stairs by two average adults—instead of every friend you have plus a couple of extra dudes. Part of the weight loss is realised by not needing some of the structural struts required in the horizontal design. The vertical design also takes up the same amount of space as an upright piano, but you still get the sound of a grand.
Aside from the weight and space savings, the vertical design also gives the pianist full access to the strings. To do so, the piano has to be “straight strung,” meaning that the strings run in parallel rather than crossing over each other as they do in many modern pianos. The dampers were also moved to be behind the strings, as were the hammers. This all means that the piano will open new avenues for music creation.
The piano is the brain-child of pianist Sarah Nicolls. Sarah partnered with Tim Evans and Chris Vaissiere, aerospace engineers, to put together the vertical piano with master piano builder David Klavins. The project has been 10 years in the making, but the team is finally at the point of building their new piano. This new design not only means that musicians will be able to create a fuller range of sound, but that more people will be able to have access to the sound of a grand piano, without sacrificing tons of room for the instrument.
Plus, when your friends ask you to help move their piano, you won’t be straining every muscle in your body to help.