Robb Design Portfolio: Venetian Find

<< Back to Robb Report, March 2007

However striking a fazioli piano (www.fazioli.com) may appear, the instrument’s truly distinguishing component is the red spruce soundboard that lies under the strings. The company—which conservatory-trained pianist and mechanical engineer Paolo Fazioli founded in 1981 in Sacile, Italy, near Venice—sources the wood from the Val di Fiemme in the Italian Alps. Antonio Stradivari once harvested the wood for his violins from the same forest. According to Fazioli, the spruce enables his pianos to produce a resonance that is “an elegant, singing sound, remembering the bel canto, with a big dynamic range.”

A Chinese entrepreneur commissioned the Marco Polo piano shown here, a custom model from Fazioli’s Art Case Collection that cost more than $200,000. (The prices of production models range from $80,000 to $160,000.) The image on the inside surface of the lid is a reproduction of Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, which Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697–1768) painted in 1732. The instrument’s name references the historic connection between Venice, the home of Marco Polo, who journeyed to and traded in China, and the piano owner’s homeland.

Ferrari’s track-only hybrid supercar is now available in 1:8 scale…
Photo by Estate of Pablo Picasso Artists Rights Society, New York
Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger selling for $179.4 million in May is one of many recent examples…
Photo by Randall Cordero
How an Internet entrepreneur assembled a world-beating collection of arcade games…
Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com
A Southern California homeowner has an incredible 1,200-square-foot shrine to America’s pastime…
Photo by Iwan Baan
This September, a highly anticipated contemporary art museum—the Broad—will open in downtown Los...
How much does baseball outpace other sports memorabilia? A look at the record-setting prices for...
When the air had cleared after the frenzy of New York’s spring art auctions, players and spectators...
Photo by Randall Cordero
Some of the rarest pieces in Greg McLemore’s collection are also the commercial flops: game...
This circa-1900 pink-swirl marble is in what Dan Morphy calls “wet mint condition,” or as pristine...
Photo by The Broad Art Foundation/Hausesr & Wirth/Bruce White
After decades assembling one of the foremost collections of contemporary art, Eli and Edythe Broad...