What makes an honest company experienced in the craftsmanship of a single musical instrument? In the world of sustainable luxury, for Steinway & Sons, 4 base factors are the key — tradition, green issues, transparency and durability. In this world crammed with disposable items in every aspect of life, Steinway & Sons, with more than 160 years expertise in piano making, reassures our confidence in quality, sustained craftsmanship and environmental consideration, and as if by accident, connects with the most talked about emerging trends in the current global luxury sector.
Transparency and environmental issues are no longer living in an extinct, faraway land only concerning the global fashion superpowers, but are widely prioritised on the consumer awareness agenda, whereas it is a no-brainer luxury brands get more exposure on revealing their behind-the-scenes. With #whomademyclothes increasingly trending on social media as a form of attracting sustainable fashion more visibility, even companies with tradition and history have been affected, due to popular demand, by a new wave of embracing transparency. Yet, what if there is nothing to hide? Steinway & Sons is a company that unintentionally stands in line with the global trend of stripping ‘bare’ in the luxury industry. We may still consider fashion as the most obvious example of an industry aspiring to turn a great degree greener, but also a great deal of craftsmanship and environmental consideration can be put into making a piano — a Steinway piano, made of wood from sustainable sources, can be played and enjoyed for decades, and — coming without an expiry date — even centuries.
“In today’s marketplace, brands like ours must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to the world around us, but that doesn't mean that quality and craftsmanship can suffer.”
Steinway belongs to the segment of sustainable luxury products, but understanding the real quality and durability often takes more than just a fancy exterior — it is easy to plaster a product with a luxury label, without making sure the product actually delivers towards the sustainability criteria. At Steinway, in addition to aesthetic appeal of the instrument, the role of actual craftsmanship, skills and the quality of raw materials is taken with utmost importance, where there is no compromise — it takes about a year to make one Steinway piano. In addition, the company boasts only two factories world-wide, based in New York and Hamburg. It takes only a glance under the lid to reveal the complexity of the artisan-built musical instruments measured with great care, assuring the customer that they are not simply paying for ‘luxury’ label, the name.
Similarly to the flourishing #whomademyclothes trend, the answer to questions like, ‘Who made my piano? How well treated the workers are? Where are they based? How much are they paid?’ , lies in highly-skilled craftspeople and artisans treated fairly and ethically. As a customer, in addition to the basics, like how, where, and by whom the product is made, we shouldn’t discard the most important question — whether the expertise is actually there. Like many other notable luxury corporations, Steinway has chosen to downplay the ostentatious label and opt for a greater degree of transparency — many of their staff have been at its workshops for decades and there are generations of the same family who have dedicated their lives to Steinway. At Steinway, interactive approach is also the key — customers frequently visit the workshops before moving on to the factory’s Selection Room, where they can try out a variety of pianos to find the one that feels right for them.
Steinway is also highly dedicated to the exclusivity aspect — any experienced pianist can tell that every Steinway piano sounds slightly different. Over the years, they have introduced a variety of limited editions — the Steinway Crown Jewel Collection is a range of visually striking pianos created from unusual, precious woods that challenges the perception of the ebony high polish concert grand, is typical of this trend. In 2015, in partnership with Wayne Stahnke, Steinway Spirio, the world's finest player piano system, available exclusively on select Steinway grand pianos, was introduced as a remarkable innovation, which is expected to last the full lifetime of the piano.
According to the brand's spokesperson, “Since the founding of Steinway & Sons over 160 years ago, innovation and craftsmanship have served as the core tenets of the company. In today’s marketplace, brands like ours must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to the world around us, but that doesn't mean that quality and craftsmanship can suffer.” Relying on these core principles of sustainability, craftsmanship, tradition and environmental responsibility, and more than a century worth of expertise, no wonder Steinway is the choice of nine out of ten concert pianists as well as countless professionals and amateurs.
For years on end, Steinway proudly serves as a company that, first and foremost, has its core values in place.