Westbank has long been at the forefront of the constructing the Canadian skyline from Vancouver to Toronto, bringing in all-star architects like Bjarke Ingels and Kengo Kuma. For each new building, the company commissions a unique Fazioli piano designed by the architects or interior designers involved, which is then constructed in the Fazioli factory north of Venice. The first piano, facilitated by Showcase Pianos, was placed in the lobby of the Shangri-La Vancouver, which opened in 2008, and since then nearly a dozen have been commissioned.
The pianos are both capstones to the projects and continuations of Westbanks dedicated to the combination of art and architecture. Each piano incorporates elements of the structure it is modelled on while maintaining the exacting mechanics of the complex instruments they are. These instruments centre the space, becoming focal points for their structures, and suggesting congregation. Ideally this ethos of sharing that music evokes continues up through the levels of living in general.
Here are eight of the most impressive Fazioli pianos designed for these Canadian skyscrapers.
Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver
This piano designed by interior designer Michelle Biggar, principal of OMB, evokes both the delicacy and complexity of paper. The intricate designs form a centre for the airy hotel lobby, a popular space where the stylish of Vancouver congregate.
Also designed by Michelle Biggar in collaboration with Westbank project manager Renata Li, this more classic white oak piano has the lyrics to the song “My Old Man” etched into it, evoking subtley and a transnational dedication to family.
Telus Garden, Vancouver
Architect Gregory Henriquez used Douglas fir and some of the precise angles and constructions featured on the building this piano occupies.
One of the more modern takes, this piano was designed by Bjarke Ingels to echo the impossible angles and suspensions of his epic addition to the Vancouver skyline.
Though the building is still under construction, the piano gives great insights into the design by renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Famous for his use of layered wood, the architect has designed a piano that plays with the layered materiality of his work.
The Butterfly, Vancouver
Venelin Kokalov of Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects), designed this piano in the same futuristic manner as the tower, one of the late Bing Thom’s last designs and inspired by the organ pipes of the church next to the new building. Alexander McQueen dresses were used as inspiration and foils to the process, giving the piano a broad influence and resonance.
Recalling the work of Ingo Maurer, this homage to the clouds and the skyscraper’s relationship to its airy environment is designed by the architects at Tokyo-based OSO, co-designers with Merrick Architecture of the impressive Deloitte Summit tower under construction at 400 West Georgia.
Another Bjarke Ingels work in progress, KING has major Habitat 67 vibes. The design of the modular, puzzle-like building is continued in this pixelated black piano. The sheen references the name; the whole thing has a touch of the grandeur.