Check out almost any classical violinist, and you might notice that the instruments they use are based on designs first created over 300 years ago. World class players are even willing to pay millions to own an original instrument from the great 17th century Italian masters like Antonio Stradivari.
If you wanted to cross an ocean at great speed you wouldn’t go looking for a 17th century ship, so why do we still use 300 year old violins? Surely by using modern design techniques and 21st century materials, we can create a better sounding instrument than a bunch of Italian guys using old bits of wood and some varnish.
That’s the thinking behind the Gavari Semiacoustic Violin from Austrian designer Gerda Hopfgartner. Working with a Viennese luthier, Hopfgartner took her inspiration from modern yachts, as well as “feminine curves and sundry corset outlines of the Baroque, Rococo, and Biedermeier ages” whatever that means. While the results certainly look cool and modern, I’m still waiting for a verdict on its sonic performance.
The Gavari violin is being shown this weekend at the Tokyo Designers Week exhibition.