Mark Rigamonti, Eigenlabs’ Chief Designer, is the man behind the Eigenharp’s unique visual and engineering flair. An early career in sculpture led to Mark founding the London agency Lifeform in the early 1990’s, bringing a fine art mindset to product and event design. Eigenlabs’ Chairman, John Lambert, invited Mark to join Eigenlabs in 2001 to help him make his dream of a revolutionary new instrument into reality. The next eight years saw Mark explore the boundaries of performance ergonomics and style, overseeing the development of new technologies and form factors for musicians. He explains: “A priority for me was to make the Eigenharp something musicians would feel a connection to, a passion for, as they would with any traditional instrument. It is a factor sadly missing from many modern instruments, that sense of emotional involvement and connection that comes from picking up something beautifully made and highly expressive.”
Eigenlabs consulted musicians on every detail of the Eigenharp’s playability. The curved keyboard on the Alpha allows musicians comfort and flexibility, the perfect balance means that the player can take their hands off the keyboard at any time and the weight is designed to be in that optimal region that communicates solidity without creating fatigue. The Eigenharp took a number of forms throughout its development, finally evolving to its current design in late 2008. Using its unique strap it can be played standing or while moving about on stage, allowing the instrument to be positioned at any angle comfortably. The built in floor spike allows it to be played easily while sitting. Mark explains:
“The primary challenge in bringing the Eigenharp to its current physical form was understanding the various movements that make playing music comfortable - the musician should be able to forget that they are playing a physical object. Driven by function, we have ended up stripping all unnecessary elements out, leaving a form that is spare and elegant. Starting with the Alpha, we have extended this principle whilst exploring less traditional, more contemporary finishes in our other instruments.”
The Eigenharps’ ground breaking design makes them accessible and comfortable for musicians on stage whilst being visually arresting for an audience. The combination of aesthetics, engineering and technology make them a unique and compelling experience for the musician.