Interview by Tanya Levy (MGBH)
There are many piano designs out there ranging from traditional to modern. Each one represents a unique vision of an artist reflecting his personal style. The two designs of an up and coming talented Macedonian product designer Apostol Tnokovsky (MGBH) strike us with their elegance as well as unique and original form. We have reached out to author of these concepts to find out more.
PPM: There has been a lot of hype on the Internet about your gorgeous piano designs – both Hydra and Wave. Have you been approached by piano companies to actually start manufacturing these designs? Has there been a prototype made?
AT: I have been in communication with several manufacturers, both big and small custom piano builders, but nothing serious came out of it as of yet. I’m still in contact, however, with few other companies, and I truly believe that one day the pianos will be produced. A time ago, I’ve collaborated with a local company. They’ve built a 1:5 downscaled model of the Wave piano, just to calculate the production costs. At the end, it came out that I only had a budget to customize a low end piano model. However, besides a beautiful design, I want a perfect sound as well, so I decided to wait for a better opportunity.
PPM: While we know that the inspiration for Hydra was Lady Gaga’s (MGBH) performance and her boxy outdated piano, what was the inspiration for the Wave?
AT: The Wave piano is also inspired by a famous pop artist, but this time I didn’t want to publicly link it to a celebrity. I learned from my experience with the Hydra piano. I announced that the concept was inspired by Lady Gaga, and everybody expected that she would play it in her next music video. So I don’t want the same kind of pressure with the Wave concept design. In the past few years I’ve been approached by many music artists, TV producers, hotel managers, event managers who requested my pianos, but I haven’t found a way to produce them yet.
PPM: While we can see the outer design of both pianos, how are they designed inside? Are they both acoustically sound?
AT: Both concepts are designed as stage pianos for pop artists, and their primary goal is to create strong visual impact on the stage. Certainly, they have to sound perfect, but there is no major innovation in the sound. The Hydra piano should be created as typical body customization of existing piano, and for the Wave piano a more complicated operation is required to adapt the whole existing acoustic mechanism into the slimmer casing, but for sure it can be done.
PPM: How much would it cost to make each piano? What materials did you design them to be made out of?
AT: Both pianos should be made out of wood. With the Wave design we metal arc stands. The companies that I’ve consulted gave me a price range from $100, 000-120, 000 for the Wave, and $150,000-180,000 for the Hydra. These prices are for customization of a premium brand piano model. The price that I got for the Wave form the local company that made the downscaled model, was around 35, 000 € for customization of low end piano model.
PPM: You designed beautiful products besides pianos. Which ones of them can we see on the market?
AT: I’ve done some things for a few local businesses in Macedonia. Internationally, I designed a collection of shoes and bags for the Italian brand WMATY. There are a few concepts pending for production, but I rather not talk about them until they are on the market.
PPM: Please, describe your creative process. Where do you generally find your inspiration?
AT: I don’t believe there is a formula to a creative process. Sometimes is hard to find a solution. You think for days and nights until you get to the right idea, but sometimes you just get inspired by moments in life, and the idea strikes you like lightning. The ideas for my best concepts came to me out of nowhere…from some place up in the skies.
I don’t believe there is a formula to a creative process. Sometimes is hard to find a solution. You think for days and nights until you get to the right idea, but sometimes you just get inspired by moments in life, and the idea strikes you like lightning. The ideas for my best concepts came to me out of nowhere…from some place up in the skies.
PPM: Do you travel a lot?
AT: I really like to travel, but I also like being home. So, sometimes, at the last moment I try to find an excuse not to go on a trip. But, luckily, I have my wife, and she is more of an action person. She even sometimes arranges our trips without telling me. I’m so happy to have her in my life.
PPM: What are your hobbies?
AT: I love watching movies, playing video games. I’m a true fan of Manchester United. I try not to miss a game. In the past year, however, my primary hobby has been my 1-year-old daughter I’m so grateful to have her and try to spend as much as I can of my free time with her.
PPM: What personal and professional qualities do you consider to be essential factors of success?
AT: Talent and persistence… Some say it’s hard work, but if you don’t have talent for something, if you don’t have that special thing, that “X” factor, you can work hard day and night to achieve the level of above average. I bet that there are basketball players that train a 100 times harder that Michael Jordan (MBGH) does, but his talent has made him stand out as the best player in history. Of course, nothing is easy in life. Sometimes things don’t run as smoothly as we would like them to, but you always have to be persistent and never give up on your dream.
Sometimes things don’t run as smoothly as we would like them to, but you always have to be persistent and never give up on your dream.
PPM: Do you have a role model?
AT: I must say, Luigi Colani (MGBH). I admire his freedom of expression. So far I haven’t seen anyone with a style so strongly defined as his. He is a rear artist who has managed to stay true to himself, to his style, and his believes. I’m trying hard to do this, but I don’t think that I can ever achieve such freedom of expression as him.
PPM: What is your dream as a designer?
AT: To make an impact on the world by making it easier and more beautiful place to live in and to be an inspiration to other talented people around the world to do their best to succeed.
As a designer, I’m truly obsessed with the shape of a sphere – it’s perfect in every way.
PPM: How, in your opinion, form/object shape effects consciousness? How does it effect you?
AT: Well, if we analyze ourselves as customers, the shape of the objects has a big influence on our choices. A shape of a product is the first thing that attracts us towards them. As a designer, I’m truly obsessed with the shape of a sphere – it’s perfect in any way. On the other hand, I like to use very fluid and organic forms in my designs and to mimic nature as much as I can.
PPM: Have you approached Lady Gaga or her management with your piano design?
AT: I’ve talked to few people close to her. They liked the concept very much, and the plan is to include the piano in the future for a project (concert stage, music video) where it would fit properly. Let’s face it: she is one of the biggest pop artists of our time, so I guess I have to be patient.
I believe that anything in this world is possible. I don’t believe that as creative person you are blessed with a good idea without a reason. I think that every one of us has a small part in the great Divine plan. So you have to be patient, and everything will fit into place. Sometimes it takes a very long time and it’s frustrating, but you must have hope and never give up.
PPM: In your opinion, what are the factors that affect the process of materializing an idea or concept?
AT: I believe that anything in this world is possible. I don’t believe that as creative person you are blessed with a good idea without a reason. I think that every one of us has a small part in the great Divine plan. So, you have to be patient, and everything will fit into place. Sometimes it takes a very long time, and it’s frustrating, but you must have hope and never give up.
PPM: How important is team effort in your work?
AT: It’s very important… I have the idea, but I do not know all the processes for all the products I’ve designed. So, many times I have to consult and work with people from different fields and trust their expertise.
PPM: Did you play any music instruments growing up? Do you play now?
AT: I took some guitar lessons when I was younger…I play my acoustic guitar from time to time, but my playing is on a very amateur level, so I don’t have an intention gathering a band any time soon. 🙂
I took some guitar lessons when I was younger…I play my acoustic guitar from time to time, but my playing is on a very amateur level, so I don’t have an intention gathering a band any time soon. 🙂
PPM: What meaning does music have in your life? What kinds of music do you like to listen to?
AT: Music has impact on everybody’s life…As Dick Clark (MGBH) said,”The music that you listen, is the soundtrack of your life”. Can you imagine a film without soundtrack? It would be boring and plain. As for the kinds of music I listen to… I love the Beatles, and I also like jazz artists like Miles Davies (OBM), Duke Ellington (OBM), and Charlie Parker (OBM).
PPM: Many people associate piano with classical music and classical period. How do you think piano design affects perceptions and expectation of the type of music played on it?
AT: As the music changes over the years, the design for the instruments that is played on should change correspondingly. It is true that the classical piano is used for playing classical music, and for the classical music the most important thing is the perfection of sound. But when it comes to modern pop music, the instruments on stage should be modern, too. I believe that on a pop stage every element should contribute to the visual impact of the show.
PPM: Do you have a joke?
AT: The Father says to his Son, “Son, I’m going to pay you 10$ a day if you practice your piano.” Son, “Sorry, Dad…The neighbor already pays me $15 a day not to.”
See more of Apostol Tnokovsky’s designs here: https://www.behance.net/gallery/13685405