Charles Linn
School of Architecture & Design

Student wins international Roland Piano design competition

Sat, 01/30/2016

LAWRENCE — Rebekah Winegarner, an industrial design student from Overland Park, is among seven winners of the Roland Corporation’s Digital Piano Design Awards. Roland is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments.

The piano, which Winegarner calls “Amber Unleashed” is a free-form shape that would support the piano’s keyboard and circuitry using amber-hued cast resin. According to her entry, “It breaks the mold of the classic concert grand, unleashing an energetic and fluid form as powerful as the music it creates.”

“My design came about kind of naturally,” she said. “I knew I wanted to create a piano that was fitting for the competition's theme, ‘Unleash,’ and wanted to make a form that was kinetic and aggressive. Using several kinds of software, I was able to sculpt a form that I felt conveyed the movement I was going for.” 

The resin would be poured into molds sculpted by digitally controlled routing machines operated according to Winegarner’s instructions. The project was completed as an industrial design studio taught by Professor of Design Lance Rake. 

The contest was open to designers and design students worldwide. Entrants were challenged to conceive a digital grand piano of the future that breaks away from tradition, focusing on appearance and outer structure. Entries were judged on criteria such as originality, aesthetic superiority, elegance and incorporation of the benefits of digital pianos.

A committee of experts from Roland selected Amber Unleashed from 128 entries submitted from all over the world and gave it one of five Incentive Awards. Grand Prize and Excellence prizes were also awarded.

To see all of the entries visit

KU is No. 5 in the @MilitaryTimes Best for Vets: Colleges 2018 rankings. #KUfacts #KUleaders

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today