Fabulous bespoke pianos combining technical virtuosity with eye-catching forms and decoration are Goldfinch’s forte. Handcrafted at workshops in Cambridge, this family-run business is part of 1066 Pianos, a third-generation company which has produced some of the world’s finest pianos. A newly created bespoke division, Goldfinch specialises in elevating fully functional pianos into musical artworks (example fourth picture, £100,000-over £1m) designed to enhance an interior space. Take The Baby (£475,000, first picture) with its elegant, sculptural shape and gleaming surfaces, which was created in collaboration with London-based art and design studio Based Upon. The result is a baby grand piano with a slender oval top that appears to twist away from its base to reveal a precisely engineered, handcrafted interior. The tonal part of the piano is built from solid Italian spruce, with exterior surfaces handfinished in tactile resins and metal. It’s both a work of art and a fine musical instrument producing a rich, velvety tone.
Similarly, Goldfinch worked in collaboration with contemporary British artist Lauren Baker to create a piano worthy of Liberace. Handbuilt for a client in the Middle East, the Crystal piano (£400,000, second and third pictures) is an elegant Steinway glistening with half a million handapplied Swarovksi crystals which sparkle in the light. “Our clients love the opportunity to express themselves in a unique way and we’re happy to tackle seemingly impossible requests,” says Goldfinch’s creative director, Mark Norman. One client commissioned a cube-shaped piano to act as a room-divider in a contemporary interior. When fully closed, it looks just like a lacquered white cube. Others have ordered pianos with completely carved exteriors to co-ordinate with wood-carvings within their homes.
An ability to breathe new life into vintage pianos also sets Goldfinch apart from other piano-makers. Examples include a turn-of-the-century Bechstein which was restored then decorated with whimsical, eastern-inspired imagery and given a glossy, handlacquered finish. And an early-20th-century Steinway was fitted with a new, handcrafted interior while its ornate exterior, including foliate scrolls and marquetry inlay, was restored and French-polished to a gleaming sheen. “Piano cases can be made from stainless steel, acrylic, wood, resin, glass, gold plate – any material the client wants,” says Norman. Even enhancing the case with jewels is possible to create, as he puts it, “unique, extravagant, musical art”.