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Ignace & Sébastien


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  • Projekt-Nr: GRS-050/21 
  • Förderbeitrag: CHF 150'000 
  • Bewilligung: 05.07.2021 
  • Dauer: 11.2021 - 02.2024 
  • Handlungsfeld:  First Ventures, seit 2018



Ignace & Sébastien is a start up that was imagined by two professional pianists, both passionate by the historical piano world. Its purpose is to reboost this musical heritage by proposing adapted supplies for piano restorers.
Unlike ancient violins like Stradivarius, historical pianos such as «Erard», «Pleyel», «Herz», «Papp»… tend to sink into oblivion. However, those pianos were treasured by some of the greatest musicians of human history like Chopin or Liszt. The reason why the public is often unaware of those pianos is because most pianists would rather play on modern pianos. The vast majority of pianos that belong to the greatest concert halls are modern ones. Ignace & Sébastien believes that this disenchantment finds its source in restoration compromises due to a lack of supplies solutions, especially regarding piano hammers.
To achieve the restoration of a piano, the refurbishment of the hammers’ heads is a primordial matter. Because it is the strings vibration stimulus, it is the very origin of the sound production. When the felt of the hammers show wear marks, due to several years of impacting the strings, it becomes necessary to restore or replace them. Nowadays, there is no solution for the piano restorers that allows them to maintain both visual and quality aspects of the hammers.
Ignace & Sébastien’s purpose is to conceive a hammer press, specifically designed for historical pianos, customizable to each different hammer shape that use materials which complies with the original ones. This press will be capable of producing new hammer heads as well as refelting the old ones with a sufficient firm felt.
Ignace & Sébastien wants to offer the adapted hammers for each piano type to reveal their potential sound to the pianists and the public.


During this final phase, we have finalized the conception of our press. Thanks to a strong partnership between engineering science and music, we perfected our versatile machine that is conceived in the spirit of the 19th century craftsmanship but with modern technology devices. It has been designed to integrate all the necessary equipment to achieve high-quality hammers, both in terms of tension and respect of the original aesthetics.
In the beginning of the program, we spent time transmitting our musical knowledge on historical pianos to the engineer team, in order to establish our specification needs. This last phase was aimed to pass on the knowledge the other way around. After building the press, came the time for the engineer team to transmit to the musicians what possibilities the machine contains.
The prototypes made by our engineer team already give us proof that we will be able to offer a new interpretation of historical pianos sound possibilities. Now, the musician team will be delivered with the press, experiment it to make full sets of hammers and integrate them in the pianos they have restored. We will then be able to know if we can validate our initial business plan, or if we need to seek other funding to improve our hammer productivity.
As soon as our pianos will be ready, we still plan on using our network of pianists, piano technicians, restorers, to promote our hammers by organizing musical events.
We also still aim to offer other lacking supplies (felts, tools and spare parts) in the future.
Ignace & Sébastien will continue to be based on bridges between science and art, engineering and music, trying to give a new visibility to historical pianos.


Am Projekt beteiligte Personen

Co-Project Leaders
Cécile Lê, professional pianist
Jean-Philippe Fonsalas, professional pianist
Salim Gataby, research engineer

Bernard Loehr, mechanical leader
Pierino De Monte, research engineer
Raphaël Montavon, senior mechanical engineer

Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung  14.03.2024