End-Grain Floors Strike a Chord

Oregon Lumnber Company End-Grain Floor
Photo courtesy of Oregon Lumber Company.

Piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons unveiled the company’s new global flagship, Steinway Hall, at 1133 Avenue of the Americas in April 2016. Nestled in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the stunning two-level retail and performance space was designed to bring together Steinway’s remarkable heritage with exciting new musical and technological innovations in a contemporary setting.

Totaling 19,000 square feet, the flagship not only serves as a retail space, but also houses a 74-seat recital hall with a state-of-the-art custom Steinway Lyngdorf sound system; live-streaming capabilities that allow musicians and audiences from around the world to connect; rehearsal studios for artists and students; a recording studio where performances for the Steinway Spirio are captured; and the fabled Steinway & Sons Concert & Artist Piano Bank.

Designed by Selldorf Architects, Steinway Hall includes multiple details that reference the materials, craftsmanship, and instruments that the company is lauded for, from 13,000 square feet of end-grain white oak flooring that recalls former iterations of Steinway Hall to recital hall seats covered in an Imperial Yellow fabric that is the same color found inside the action of a Steinway & Sons piano. Other features include a custom, bentwood decorative ceiling, and acoustic paneling in the concert hall that evokes the exquisite woods used to make each Steinway.

“This is only the third Steinway Hall to be built in New York over the past 163 years, and it was important that we created an experience that illustrates our company’s rich history while incorporating modern technology,” says Bill Rigos, facility manager, Steinway & Sons.

Oregon Lumber Company Steinway Installation
Photo courtesy of Oregon Lumber Company.

Floor Focus
“The end-grain block we chose for the space replicates the flooring from the original hall location and has a clean, contemporary feel,” says Rigos.

The 3/4-inch thick, 3 5/8-inch wide white oak was manufactured by Oregon Lumber Company. The family-owned company, located 180 miles south of Seattle, makes solid/engineered and end-grain flooring for a wide range of applications – from small projects to large – including residential and commercial. Kaswell Flooring Systems, Oregon Lumber’s east coast representative, was instrumental in working with the architect on the project.

The product was manufactured from lumber supplied by Sam Carey Lumber Company of Germantown, Tennessee. As part of the process, each block is carefully selected, precision machined, kiln dried and turned on end. The individual end-grain blocks are then assembled together with a soft aluminum wire spline into flexible strips.

“Since pianos are frequently rolled across the showroom floor, endurance was another key consideration in selecting the product and manufacturer,” says Rigos. “Oregon Lumber makes a superior product that met our specifications and passed durability tests. The floors
have been in place for almost a year now and the product has held up very well.”

“The new Steinway & Sons New York headquarters represents not only their continued 163-year-old commitment to building the most iconic brand of pianos but also shows Steinway’s worldwide support of the musical arts,” says Charles Couch, Oregon Lumber’s president and owner. “It was an honor for Oregon Lumber Company to be a part of the next 90-year Steinway vision. We are confident the oak end-grain flooring will stand the test of time alongside Steinway & Sons pianos.”

Architect: Selldorf Architects (New York, New York); Lumber supplier: Sam Carey Lumber Company (Germantown, Tennessee); Manufacturer’s Representative: Kaswell Flooring Systems (Ashland, Massachusetts); Flooring manufacturer: Oregon Lumber Company (Lake Oswego, Oregon).

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