Pianodrome – A living sculpture & performance space made entirely from upcycled pianos

The decade-long journey of two Scottish creative founders, from a local arts experiment to a global social enterprise and international arts movement.


Pianodrome is a modular performance venue crafted entirely from repurposed pianos. Originating as a small-scale community arts project in Edinburgh in 2009, it has evolved into an adaptable, viable and scalable social enterprise model with ambitious global growth plans, thanks to the skill and enduring support of a devoted local creative community.


Blending creative vision, carpentry skills and a shared passion for music, Pianodrome exemplifies the power of community collaboration to turn a modest local arts initiative into a sustainable international social business. The project brought together hundreds of local artists, technicians, organisers and experts who generously contributed their skills over a decade to help transform discarded pianos into a unique, moveable sculpture and event space. With ongoing assistance from the International Social Enterprise Observatory (ISEO), this homegrown creative enterprise now aims to take its innovative artistic concept to a global audience.

The Problem:

Transforming an inspired local arts project into a viable, scalable international social enterprise over the course of a decade brought many challenges:

  • As a non-profit, generating any income for the founders took years of iterative development and business learning.
  • Finding the ideal balance between maintaining the core artistic vision and developing commercial viability remains an ongoing tension.
  • The co-founders initially lacked the wider knowledge, experience and networks to drive global growth.
  • The set-up logistics and costs involved in transporting and constructing Pianodromes internationally are demanding.

Without the enduring support offered by both the creative community and external development agencies, Pianodrome may never have evolved from a one-off Edinburgh arts project into the sustainable, adaptable and impact-focused social business it is today.

The Solution:

Several key factors have been instrumental in gradually turning Pianodrome’s global ambitions from creative moonshot vision into feasible reality over the past decade:

  • Ongoing hands-on input from a team of over 100 diverse local artists, technicians, organisers and community members who generously contributed their skills and energies.
  • Mentorship and development support in enterprise basics, business planning and funding from multiple external agencies such as Firstport, Creative Scotland, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh. This enabled the founders to learn sustainability and strategy.
  • New international partnership and growth opportunities catalysed by ISEO’s overseas networks, expertise and funding assistance, opening up global markets.
  • A commitment to open communication, patience and willingness to compromise when shaping the enterprise, staying true to core values.
  • Leveraging digital technology and creative vision to develop the Pianopticon global arts project and overcome logistical barriers.

This collaborative spirit and adaptability enabled Pianodrome to refine and hone its model into an impact-driven and financially sustainable social business.

The Outcome:

From local community arts experiment in 2009 to globally-focused creative social enterprise in 2021, Pianodrome’s 10-year journey demonstrates the power of community collaboration to balance creativity and business viability through shared purpose.

ISEO’s specialized global partnership support has been a critical factor in turning the founders’ aspirations for international growth into reality. With the first North American Pianodrome set to launch in the US in late 2021 and Australia likely to follow in 2022, the enterprise has already made huge strides. Pianopticon will link these Pianodromes digitally to create transcontinental creative experiences.

By embracing an adaptable ethos and enterprising spirit, the founders have proved that an inspired arts initiative can evolve into a viable, scalable social business ready to make a proudly Scottish concept resonate globally. Pianodrome stands as an exemplar of sustainable, values-driven growth without borders.

More Case Studies

Scotland – A world leader in international social enterprise

Scotland is a global leader in international social enterprise. Organisations like the Homeless World Cup, International Network of Street Papers, and Social Enterprise World Forum demonstrate our success making worldwide impact from headquarters in Scotland.

Solariskit and CREATIVenergie – Scottish innovation building local clean energy solutions globally

Learn about how two ambitious cleantech enterprises, CREATIVenergie and Solariskit, overcame barriers to bring their technologies to East Africa with guidance from Challenges Worldwide.

Saorsa – Building a global anti-slavery data platform

Saorsa 2030 is a Scottish social enterprise founded in 2019 to develop an intelligent aggregated data platform enabling anti-slavery organizations to collaboratively fight modern slavery and unethical supply chains worldwide.

Thank you for your interest in the International Social Enterprise Observatory. To sign up to our newsletter, please complete the below form.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.