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.

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