Piip is playful electric car designed by artist Harald Thys

Piip is a playful electric car designed by artist Harald Thys

Piip by Harald Thys and Lowie Vermeersch is a speculative project of a user-friendly electric family car, presented at Galerie Maniera in Brussels

Belgian artist Harald Thys has collaborated with Brussels gallery and design company Maniera on an exhibition that broadens his focus on unique industrial design projects. Thys is best known for working with Jos de Gruyter, creating dreamlike sculptures and designs that evoke folk art and children’s drawings.

Piip is an electric car, a design born not from focus groups and decades of carefully curated brand heritage, but from Thys’ longstanding obsession with cars and car culture.

The design itself references the rounded, proto-aerodynamic shapes of the first mainstream “popular cars”, combined with the naïve imagery of the idealistic depiction of a child – hood, cabin, trunk.

The wheels and headlights are kept small, with the circular pattern extending to the mirrors and door handles. The body is rounded and user-friendly, with no aggressive angles or voracious ducts.

Maniera has always been about invited collaborations, bringing together architects, artists and designers to create “functional objects” in a gallery context.

To bring this project to life, Thys worked with the Belgian car designer Lowie Vermeersch, formerly of Pininfarina and now head of mobility design agency Granstudio.

The design of the car was developed in collaboration with Belgian car designer Lowie Vermeersch

For Vermeersch, the partnership was a welcome diversion from the current path of the industry; he describes Piip as “a modestly sweet design, a far cry from all the evil, malevolent car designs of the last decade”.

For the exhibit, the gallery becomes a virtual car showroom, complete with imaginary branding and 3D printed models. §

The Piip ‘showroom’ at Galerie Maniera in Brussels

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