At the recent MusikMesse 2014 in Frankfurt I came across some unusual piano cabinet designs on some of the European stands. Both Schimell and Bluthner showcased some of the quirky cabinet styles they are bringing to the market with a particular emphasis on the growing Asian sector where different but quality pianos are highly prized. Schimells use of perspex for their grand model afforded complete visual access to the inner workings of their particular model on display. Bluthner used perspex for the grand lid with a padded leather cabinet exterior which I think was more targeted at the trendy bar /restaurant business as opposed to the general domestic market but you never know.
Side by side with these "modern" pianos were their display of Black Gloss and Wood finish grand and upright pianos all which showed the consistency of their quality control and commitment to producing a range of pianos which they believe stand up well to any examination in performance and construction. Throughout the show all piano manufacturers both European and Chinese were keen to talk to all trade visitors and get feedback on our first impressions of their ranges and also try to see if there was a possibility to enter into some kind of trading arrangement.
Overall I got the general feeling that things were on an upward curve in most markets which were represented at the show but there is still a cautious approach being adopted by most retailers I spoke to, as they don,t think agreeing to take in lovely shiny pianos at the show will necessarily follow through to the piano buying public turning up in large numbers to buy them. Having missed the last few shows in Frankfurt this show was well worth the visit as I got a good chance to see what is happening in the general piano market and catch up with trade pals in the UK and Europe.