Voie Lactée by Andrée Putman

published in: Design, Music By Costas Voyatzis, 23 August 2008

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On June 12, Pleyel, France’s oldest piano manufacturer, introduced its latest creation : « Voie Lactée », a baby grand designed by Andrée Putman. The designer imagined the piano as a traditional music box.

And Andrée Putman created a Pleyel Piano …
Pleyel…. pianos for 200 years, a concert hall of international renown, artists, musicians, a myth. Its rich cultural history came to be associated with the decorative arts in the 1930s, the architecture of the Salle Pleyel (decorated by Ruhlmann, Baguès, Subes, Le Bourgeois…) and encounters with the most prestigious « designer interior decorators » (Ruhlmann, Legrain, Herbst, Follot, Prou…) to create avant garde pianos for refined interiors or transatlantic liners.
One day in 2006, Pleyel asked Andrée Putman to:
« draw the piano of the 21st century…»
250,000 pianos manufactured by Pleyel, and yet there was one missing …
Voie Lactée was born from the union between a mythical designer and the oldest piano maker in the world.
Voie Lactée is the instrument crystallised into a unique luxury object, transformed into a life‐size musical box, refined to novel proportions.
A marriage between design and music, curved and straight lines, black lacquer and chrome, the blue of the milky way and mother of pearl, keyboard and checkerboard…
An interface between music and the decorative arts, between piano and design…
…a delightful interference in the world of music …
…with great reverence for the world of design…

Arnaud Marion
Artistic Director of Pleyel Pianos

Voie Lactée,

This uncharted adventure with its limitless possibilities was not for the faint hearted. If Voie Lactée differs from its cousins, it is because I had sensed mounting impatience in the music world and an insatiable desire for perfection.
The freedom to decide on all the aspects of the piano meant less monotony, but I had to work in harmony with the talented technicians at the Pleyel Workshop to turn this dream into not only a beautiful object but also an instrument of unrivalled acoustic qualities.
This special menu, including mother of pearl and horsehair, called for imagination.
Some of the materials were combined in original ways: lacquered wood next to Corian, nickel combined with the copper of the strings and the brass of the reeds. The soundboard and frame were lacquered in black for the first time.
Our enthusiasm and boldness prevented any lapse into easy options or cuteness: Pleyel’s bottom line was to refuse even the slightest flaw.
So all that remains is for the notes to sparkle in the starry night.

Andrée Putman

Pleyel, Andrée Putman and Stephen Paullelo
The ambition of Pleyel Pianos is to reintroduce the piano as a modern feature of the interior. So the aesthetic design of Pleyel Pianos has been entrusted to contemporary designers.
The latest creation to emerge from the Pleyel workshop, unveiled during Designer’s Days 2008, expresses Pleyel Pianos’ new momentum in the world of contemporary design:
Andrée Putman has signed Voie Lactée, a new 2m17 grand piano.
Manufactured with the harmonic system of the new Pleyel grand (the P204 grand piano) designed by Stephen Paulello, this piano has the aesthetics of a musical box, illustrating the modernity of a two hundred year old trademark. It symbolises the revival of an emblematic musical instrument both in terms of design and capacity to blend with contemporary interiors.
Voie Lactée, the piano created by Andrée Putman, is produced in an unlimited series and in a limited, numbered series (8 pianos).



The new Pleyel grand piano is the first model created by the new Pleyel Piano workshop, in the tradition of the mythical model n°3 (the 2m04 Pleyel grand piano manufactured from 1906 to 1937, with 2,625 pianos) chosen by great concert pianists.
Our stated ambition is to recreate a strong musical identity and revive the personality of Pleyel’s most prestigious period. To preserve its charm and melodic qualities, and maintain the elegance of its delicate, luminous, silver tone. Yet these features need to be adapted to the style of modern piano playing, with a keyboard and action that comply with the expectations of today’s musicians.
Pleyel Pianos have entrusted the sound design of this new instrument to the highly renowned French piano maker Stephen Paulello, so that the tone and aesthetics combine to express the same ambition.

The Voie Lactée piano was previewed as part of the 2008 edition of Designer’s Days at the Pleyel Piano Showroom at the Salle Pleyel from 12 June to 16 June 2008.


Agence Andrée Putman , Pleyel

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About Andrée Putman

Born in Paris, Andrée Putman is one of the most internationally renowned designers. She has signed important projects of architecture and interior design for both public and private spaces in countries all over the world.
In one stage of her activity, more precisely in the Eighties, her interest in art and design led her to re-present and interpret some works by Eileen Gray, Robert Mallet- Stevens, and Mariano Fortuny.
Some of the most significant realisations include Morgan’s Hotel in New York, the Centre d’Art Plastique Contemporain in Bordeaux, the furnishings for the interior of the Concorde for Air France, the Pershing Hall Hotel in Paris, the Blue Spa and the swimming pool of the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, the boutique Guerlain in Paris, many private residences and recently also “The Putman” skyscraper in Hong Kong.
As a designer she has created a line of jewels and some items of silverware for Christofle, a porcelain collection for Gaia & Gino and the reinterpretation of the famous Steamer Bag for Louis Vuitton.
Another of her recent activities was the “Espace Andrée Putman”, an area so called as a tribute to her, located in the Stade de France in Paris.
In January 2008, Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris, appointed her President of the first Comité Design, an association specially created to advise and support the administration in all interventions and projects for the city.

[official website]
TAGS: Music
  • friend
    zuy | 2008-09-13 15:37:01

    Putman exhibition in New York http://www.frenchculture.org/spip.php?article1619

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