Peugeot Design Lab's piano of the future


September 27, 2012

The aerodynamic lines of the piano from Peugeot Design Labs and Pleyel

The aerodynamic lines of the piano from Peugeot Design Labs and Pleyel

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Just like BMW with its DesignworksUSA creative consultancy that churns out non-automotive products ranging from computer mice to bicycles, Peugeot has launched the Peugeot Design Lab with a similar bent. The first product to come out of the studio is a futuristic baby grand piano designed for French piano manufacturers Pleyel that looks like it could beat my first car over a quarter mile.

The project was instigated by the Peugeot Design Lab team, which approached Pleyel with the idea of creating a new piano design for the two-century old piano maker. Engineers and acoustic engineers from both companies collaborated to produce a streamlined design that comes courtesy of lowering the piano’s mechanics so that the cover and keyboard are aligned, as well as a single cantilevered leg borrowed from the world of architecture.

The designers say the alignment of the cover and keyboard not only allows the audience to get a better look at the pianist and their fingers as they tickle the ivories, but also delivers better sound quality to the pianist as the sound can travel to them unimpeded.

The automotive background of the Peugeot Design Lab team members is evident in a new opening system borrowed from the design of a car’s tailgate. This self-supporting lid mechanism replaces the traditional lid prop and allows the lid to be opened with one hand.

With the design team tasked with retaining the sound quality and touch of Pleyel’s pianos, the body and soundboard of the piano are made of wood, while the lid and leg are constructed from carbon fiber. While this helps with sound projection and weight reduction, a central frame is made from steel to support the piano, while the carbon fiber leg has been filled with expanded foam to eliminate any sound box effect.

With Pleyel the oldest piano manufacturer in the world, the piano retains the classic black lacquer finish as a nod to tradition.

“We do not do style for the sake of style,” says Gilles Vidal, Peugeot’s Director of Styling. “This instrument is not a concept but a real product which involves an exchange of know-how between the design studio and its client.”

However, there’s no word on availability or pricing for the futuristic Joanna.

Source: Peugeot Design Lab

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

This is going in my secret lair all i need now is a white cat and sharks with frikking laser beams on their heads. Finally this car manufacturer has figured out how to be good at something - making pianos.


It's so great to see people working on something that is used for art. Love it!

Michele Free

Looks cool and I'm sure it sounds nice. I thought digital pianos were pianos of the future, this is just a Model-T with a Ferrari body. You have a wood soundboard and cast string plate, the two main sound components of a piano. I would still love to hear it. Time to search you-tube for a vid.


I think the accoustical designers must have had fun with this rethink. As someone who has moved a couple of grand pianos, I wonder how this bad boy gets carted around from place to place.

Bruce H. Anderson

MasterG: and the price? "One million dollars!"

It is a nice piece of design work, though.

Jon A.

What an ugly looking piano. There's a reason that pianos look the way they do. They've been making them look that way for centuries! It's the sound dummy! This clearly will not sound as good as a Baldwin or Steinway baby grand...I estimate that this will have the sound of a Casiotone from Walmart!


Looks like a bad Star Trek prop. Not In My Abode, thank you. How do you get that thing up a three story flight of stairs with a 180 switch back in it?

John Hagen-Brenner

I don't buy a piano for it's looks. Can't wait to see the matching 'cello.


There is a real reason the great artists use a 'Steinway' and that has not changed for a few hundred years. I have the film, and even in 2012 they are made by hand. A grand take a year to build... and each and everyone is art...

Paul Perkins

Similar approach, different design:

Krister Knutars
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