Harald Thys

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Open: Wed-Sat 2pm-6pm

Place de la Justice 27-28, 1000, Brussels, Belgium
Open: Wed-Sat 2pm-6pm


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Harald Thys

to Sun 13 Nov 2022

Artist: Harald Thys

Place de la Justice 27-28, 1000 Harald Thys

Wed-Sat 2pm-6pm


MANIERA presents a remarkable exhibition by the Belgian artist, Harald Thys, who has taken a romantic and utopian idea as the basis to design a car: the Piip.

Harald Thys, who is mainly known from his work with the artist duo, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, has dreamed of designing a car from an early age. Today he is developing the Piip, a simple electric car designed to provide a means of transport for the people, without too many frills, and far removed from the marketing-driven spirit of the (expensive) car business. The car has an almost naive and ‘sweet’ look, setting out from an emotional-artistic concept and producing a result as absurd as it is serious. The design, like the artist’s entire oeuvre, is characterised by a burlesque cheerfulness and an almost childlike simplicity, with humorous effects. Yet it also embodies an element of paradoxical emotions and critical reflections.

The Piip is a perfect fit for MANIERA, a design company and gallery that invites architects and artists to develop functional objects – from small utensils to furniture, and now, from a bar to a car. The gallery offers a platform for transverse designs – colouring outside the lines of the designers’ regular work and outside the lines of design itself.

Harald Thys is developing the car with the help of Belgian car designer and mobility expert, Lowie Vermeersch. Vermeersch has been working in the automotive sector for years, first at the Pininfarina studios in Turin, and since 2011, at the head of his own established design agency Granstudio, which designs cars and mobility systems. Vermeersch quickly became fascinated by Thys’s Piip. Because the artist is so far removed from the ‘automotive world’ in his daily practice, he approaches car design from an unbiased, non-marketing point of view. Lowie Vermeersch describes Harald Thys’s design as “a modestly sweet design, far from all the evil and malicious car designs of the last decade”.

The gallery will be transformed into a car showroom for the occasion, and in addition to sketches and a presentation leaflet, the Piip will be presented through the use of 3D-printed models and an accompanying virtual-reality experience.

Lowie Vermeersch on Harald Thys’ design:
“For me, the appeal of the Piip is in its character. What he or she expresses is something that cannot exist today in the ‘automotive reality’ (where everything is subject to mass sales, and so also to the taste of the masses). PIIP is different. Introverted, just being itself, free of fashions, humane, unruly, but also proud in a way. Quiet and happy to drive and to exist. I see the real value of Piip, therefore, in its ‘becoming real’, being what can’t yet actually be, without losing its character, but also – and this is very important to me – without being put away as ‘not serious’, ‘not functional’, ‘not working’, ‘not well done’. PiiP, in other words, must penetrate reality without being ‘barred’”.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)


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