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Ignace & Sébastien


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  • Projekt-Nr: GRS-050/21 
  • Förderbeitrag: CHF 150000 
  • Bewilligung: 05.07.2021 
  • Dauer: 11.2021 - 07.2023 
  • 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.


Our research phase lasted until September 2021 and involved a musicology study as well as a preliminary engineering work in partnership with the Haute Ecole - ARC Engineering of Neuchâtel which led to a conception of a manual press for individual hammer.
Starting the First Ventures program in November 2021, we have strengthened our partnership with HE-ARC to develop a semi-automatic press, produce our first hammers, test and validate them by integrating them inside two historical grand pianos that we are restoring. To this day, 1st of July 2022, we have made material research, achieved the conception of our press, established partnerships with suppliers for our press components and hammers materials. Next months are planned to be devoted to the press fabrication and setting, the production of prototypes that will be integrated in our grand pianos to be tested and validated.
We aim to be ready for production by the first trimester of 2023.
Since its very origin, Ignace & Sébastien developed a network of restorators and professional musicians that will be our two privileged targets when we will launch our start-up. Restorators will be involved in the different hammer quality tests protocols, during the creation and setting of the press. Professional musicians will have a promotion role and our two restored grand pianos containing our hammers will be used for concerts and musical events.
To improve our industrialization efficiency, we will seek funding (Innosuisse) to develop other lacking supplies for piano restorers (felts, tools, and various spare parts).
Ignace & Sébastien wants to pursue outreach activities, with hammer sets and other piano restoration supplies sales, as well as the organization of musical events to promote historical pianos and strengthen their recognition among pianists and their audiences


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  11.05.2023