Piip is a playful electric car designed by artist Harald Thys

Piip by Harald Thys and Lowie Vermeersch is a speculative project for a friendly electric family car, presented at the Maniera Gallery in Brussels

PiiP, Harald Thys at MANIERA
Piip, on show at Maniera design gallery in Brussels until 13 November 2022
(Image credit: TBC)

Belgian artist Harald Thys has collaborated with Brussels gallery and design company Maniera on an exhibition that expands its focus on unique industrial design projects. Thys is best known for working with Jos de Gruyter, creating dreamlike sculptures and drawings 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 out of Thys’ long-standing obsession with cars and car culture. 

Front view of blue electric car design, Piip, by Harald Thys on white gallery wall

(Image credit: TBC)

Rear view of blue electric car image on gallery wall

(Image credit: TBC)

The design itself references the rounded, proto-aerodynamic forms of early mass-market ‘people’s cars’, combined with the naïve imagery of a child’s idealistic representation – bonnet, passenger compartment, boot.

Wheels and headlights are kept small, with the circular motif extending to mirrors and doorhandles. The bodywork is rounded and friendly, with no aggressive angles or voracious-looking ducts. 

side view image of blue car on wall

(Image credit: TBC)

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

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

Exhibition view, ‘Harald Thys, Piip’

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

(Image credit: TBC)

For Vermeersch, the partnership was a welcome diversion from the industry’s current path; he describes Piip as ‘a modestly sweet design, far from all the evil and malicious car designs of the last decade’.

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

Gallery exterior

The Piip 'showroom' at Maniera Gallery in Brussels

(Image credit: TBC)

Model of yellow car on exhibition plinth

(Image credit: TBC)

‘Harald Thys: PiiP’

At Maniera, Place de la Justice 27, 28 1000 Brussels, until 13 November 2022 


Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.