- Performance design
granstudio is solidly rooted in the automotive design expertise of the team, but we believe that it is our approach that defines us.
Central to this approach is the idea of ‘Performance Design’. This is not just about functionality– but also about the ‘bodily act of performing’, about producing meaning. It’s what makes something beautiful and functional into something that matters.
Discover below how this approach is reflected in our design philosophy and the way we work.
- Design philosophyBeautiful things that matter
Performance Design isn’t only about function – it also has a touch of drama and storytelling. An object performs by revealing its meaning as we use it, and in the way it manifests itself in the environment.
In the same way, beauty isn’t only in the appearance of the object. We believe that true beauty reveals itself in the interaction between the user and the object. There and then, something beautiful becomes something that matters.
Therefore, our true satisfaction as designers lies in the pleasure of the final user. This is where we define the true performance of a design: to what extent it creates a pleasurable relationship with the user and the context.
This vision translates into our approach to design: starting from the bigger picture, the context, the meaning, the aimed-for enjoyment. This filters step by step into all the different aspects of the project and design.
Within the automotive design, this means putting a lot of focus on volume and proportions, which we see as fundamental to both the design and its capacity to create beauty that endures over time.
At the same time, and at the other end of the spectrum, we believe that the care and dedication given to a design should be felt in its smallest detail.
- The way we workA structured process
The idea of performance is also translated into how we work and our design process. This is characterised by:
1. Strong project management that guarantees high quality, within time frames and budget.
2. Extensive experience of all the phases of the design process, going from advanced research up to start of production (SOP).
3. Knowledge of how and when to balance design wishes and engineering feasibility, based on the project goals.
4. High level virtual design capacities that ensure an efficient design process with continuous virtual model development (CAS) and simultaneous engineering.
5. A pro-active attitude with continuous focus on the highest reachable quality.
6. Belief in the unique quality of a surface that receives its last touches – literally – by hand.
…and passion for beautiful things that matter.
- About us
granstudio is a new type of creative studio that concentrates a high level of automotive design expertise into a compact and multidisciplinary team.
Together with our sister office Reframing Studio, we create designs that are successful within their future contexts. We do this both as creative partners for organisations and as autonomous thinkers for new ideas.
Find more details about us down here.
granstudio was formed early 2011 by Lowie Vermeersch and a team of automotive design experts. We believe that the growing strategic importance of design and the need for multidisciplinary design ideas call for a new type of creative studio.
We do not just design objects. Together with our sister office Reframing Studio in Amsterdam we embrace the broader context and the people that are at the centre of it.
The studio is home to a compact and highly experienced team in which all the know how we need to design complete projects is concentrated, from early research up to production, including design research, virtual modelling, model building and design engineering.
Our main office is located in a townhouse in the heart of Turin, automotive capital of Italy. Our location gives us access to a network of automotive companies and expertise, steeped in the Italian creative spirit.
The offices are conceived as an informal living space that stimulates creativity. Dedicated project rooms guarantee the highest confidentiality of the work.
- AboutWhat we do
As creative partners we collaborate with organisations and individuals to design products that are successful, impactful and relevant in their future customer environments. This includes:
- Develop Design and Brand Strategies.
We develop Design and Brand Strategies that combine strategic thinking with concrete design implementation.
- Develop Designs from problem definition to production:
We design with a thorough experience of both process and product, leading to high quality, innovative and feasible outcomes. We cover all the phases of the process:
As autonomous designers and thinkers we develop design projects, lectures, writings and collaborations. It is here that we also apply our advanced automotive expertise within a broader cultural and social context going from mobility to architecture.
This unique and people-driven approach ensures a fresh and multidisciplinary point of view in all our activities.
Our capacities include:
- skecthing & design research
- Product concept & layout development
- virtual modelling ( CAS, Class A )
- design engineering
- model building
- prototype construction
- project presentation
If you have questions or would like to receive more information about granstudio‘s activities and capabilities, feel free to contact us.
- AboutWho we are 1/2Lowie Vermeersch
Lowie is CEO and Creative Director of granstudio. He is part of the 3rd generation of a prominent Belgian artistic family. His fascination with the physical world led him to industrial design, to a strong awareness of the play between aesthetics and mechanics, and to the philosophy of people-centred design.
After studying at the University of Delft in Holland, he left for Italy, where he started his career as an automotive designer at Pininfarina. After being responsible for several successful designs, he was appointed Design Director and led the automotive design department of Pininfarina for several years.
In 2010, he was one of CAR magazine’s “World’s 25 Most Influential Car Designers”. He was responsible for the design team of award-winning cars, such as the Pininfarina Nido (Compasso d’Oro ); the Maserati Birdcage 75th (Louis Vuitton Concept Car Award); the Pininfarina Sintesi, the Ferrari 458, and the Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta .
granstudio is a logical step is his evolution as a designer, which has always looked for a balance between his passion for car design and the need to deepen his experience within a broader context.
Lowie is also president of the Interieur Foundation, a Belgian foundation that promotes contemporary design for living
- AboutWho we are 2/2
granstudio has a core of 24 designers, virtual modelers and design engineers that are guided by Lowie and the 4 GS senior partners:
Simone Brevigliero brings more than 10 years of experience with major OEMs in the automotive industry. He has worked in different business functions across three continents (Asia, North America and Europe) and uses this broad knowledge to ensure that creative aspirations are supported by a clear business management.
Carlo Limongi’s broad and strong experience in automotive project management guarantees granstudio‘s robust design process. Working in combination with the creative team, Carlo is responsible for making sure that the design process runs smoothly. His presence recognises that in a strict
adherence to timeline and budget are fundamental parts of a creative design approach.
Giovanni Piccardo is chief stylist and has 21 years of international experience in automotive design. His creative intuition translates into emotionally involving designs that balance a strong visual impact with a sense of efficiency and innovation.
Goran Popovic heads design development and has 20 years of experience within the field of transportation design, working with Baglietto shipyard, Pininfarina as Chief Designer and EME Engineering, among others. He is recognised for his excellence in the fields of styling and design engineering.
- Mobility Design
In this section you can explore some of the projects we do within the field of mobility design. These include the full design development of cars, strategic consultancy and research into new mobility concepts.
For our selected clients in the automotive industry we often work as a discreet creative partner behind the scenes, with the focus on helping to create vehicles that are successful in their future contexts.
- ResearchConceptual Study 1
For the exhibition ‘Le Labo des Héritiers‘ we used the context of the museum as an opportunity to translate some experiments we have been working on into a sculpture. It’s not a car, but a temporarily materialisation of our ongoing research activities
The philosophy behind it is closely linked to the ‘Future Primitive’ theme that Lowie developed as curator for the Biennale Interieur 2012. Within that theme, the advancement of technology was embraced not as a value in itself, but as a quiet enabler for a society that evolves closer to the needs of man and nature.
In ‘Conceptual Study 1′, stereolitography is used to create an inner structure that provides both rigidity and inner air ducts. This allows to manage the airflows of a sportscar
in a radically different way: all air is taking at the most efficient point in the front and distributed internally to the essential organs: battery, engine, brakes and cabin.
This enables to imagine the bodywork to be pure again, free of holes, more united, closer to nature.
This duality is reflected in the contrasting choice of materials: stereolitography for the complexity of the inner structure, plaster for the simplicity and tactile warmth of the exterior. The newest and oldest technologies co-exist.
Full picture report following soon. With many thanks to Ruggero Cateniello, Materialise and Pietro Carrieri
Picture of the exhibition
concept sketch revealing the 3D printed inners that combine structure and inner air ducts.
Virtual modelling exploring the inner air ducts
Detail of inner structure in stereolitography
Combining the oldest ( plaster ) and newest ( stereolitography ) technology of modelmaking. ( picture: Pietro Carrieri )
The object during construction ( picture: Pietro Carrieri )
The object during construction ( picture: Pietro Carrieri )
- Car DesignCowin i-CX
For the emerging brand Cowin we designed the i-CX, a SUV that derives it’s strength from it’s simple and user-centered design.
GS designed the i-CX with the goal to transmit important values such as proudness, positivity and a faith in proper means. It results in a design that aims to reach a broad customer base for Cowin and at the same time deliver new user experiences through it’s interior design. It is here that we best read the approach behind the design: instead of maximising the visual impact, GS chooses to create a design that is more simple in order to create the right setting for the experience of the HMI.
The exterior design consciously chooses for a pleasing design that transmits trust and solidity in its
overall volumes and proportions, while expressing dedication and positivity in it’s execution and details. Confident but not aggressive, dynamic but without sacrificing interior space, it’s a contemporary design that captures the taste of a broad target public.
The Cowin i-CX has been presented to the public in August 2014 at the Chengdu Motorshow.
- One-Off ProjectGlickenhaus SCG003
We’re currently working on James Glickenhaus’s new road/racing project in collaboration with Paolo Garella.
It’s a completely new car with a specific chassis and a V6TT engine, with the objective of presenting it at 2015 Geneva Motor Show and racing the 24H the same year at the Nürburgring.
We started the design work, dressing a totally carbon fiber chassis that in the team objective is going to set new standards in terms of stiffness and lightness.
The team is working hard to freeze the mechanical packaging within the end of January 2014 and start the car build during the first quarter of the year.
The design brief has been focused on a car with an outstanding aerodynamic performance, an innovative look and an iconic design. Paolo Catone, a well-known race Engineer, strong of a successful long experience with F1 and Sport Prototypes, will support the team to the Aerodynamic development.
Paolo Garella and Jim Glickenhaus checking out the interior buck.
Goran and Rocco discussing the full scale mock-up
the carbon fibre chassis specifically developed for the project.
the carbon fibre chassis specifically developed for the project.
- Ongoing research projectRESET
A granstudio research project, involving the design of both a advanced car and new type of urban vehicle. A project that will embody our human centered vision on mobility and its vehicles.
When thinking of future mobility, we need a paradigm shift: we must no longer approach the car as a single object, but look at people and cars together as one pulsing system in which vehicles and people act, and above all, communicate together.
This system must not deny the individual sense of freedom that is at the core of the existence of cars, but should have the capacity to liberate it again. When we consider that ‘intelligent’ system, and not the single object, as our new solution field, many opportunities arise that have been left
unexplored until now.
We as designers are interested in what this paradigm shift could mean to cars and the people using them. How can we improve their interaction? How can it help to recreate stronger sensations when driving? How can it change the quality of our living environments?
One key is that we do not just focus on designing a vehicle, but move towards a transversal experience of our mobility. This means creating beauty within mobility, so that all the different aspects of our mobility connect in a coherent way with each other into an enjoyable, fluid experience.
While the industrial revolution brought us cars as objects, the digital revolution of connecting them into a beautiful system has only just begun.
Looking for a new relationship between the vehicle and it’s urban environment
- Brand Design & Concept CarChery TX
granstudio acts as a creative consultant for selected automotive clients, including Chery Automobiles, one of China’s biggest car manufacturers.
For Chery we developed a new Brand Design language, and showcased it with the Chery TX concept that was presented at the Shanghai 2012 Motorshow. The Chery TX was awarded Best Concept Car of the Year by cardesignnews.com
Look here to see a video of the Chery TX Concept.
- Car DesignTailor Made
For a ‘one off’ we design a sportscar that wants to be a counterbalance within a segment where ‘louder’ seems to be the only direction in which to move.
Therefore a design that connects with the deeply rooted values of italian car design, where performance and elegance meet. A car that feels at home on the piste, but is as well a statement of taste when parked outside the Milan Scala. With a certain restrain that in essence is the expression of confidence.
- Design worksProduction Design
We work with several car manufacturers, both in Europe and Asia, often behind the scenes. Projects include long-term Brand Design Studies, Styling Research and Design Development up to production. We are also often involved in the early phases of a project to define volumes and the layout of a car through Proportion Studies.
Our flexibility and capacity allows us to take responsibility for the full design development of projects, from ideation to design freeze, or to give creative input at a certain point within the process.
While we actively integrate the latest software possibilities, we consider proportions as core values at the base of every project.
In future interiors, beside geometry and styling, it is interaction and new interfaces that will guide the geometry.
We are specialised in developing Proportion studies, both with virtual and physical models.
granstudio is also active in the broader social and cultural context of design. Our seemingly different activities are united by our passion to condense complex projects and situations into intuitive designs that matter to people.
We cherish this duality of the studio, as we are convinced that truly new solutions for both mobility and its broader context can arise where the two overlap and inspire each other.
- WritingsMoving People
“It was one of those beautiful summer days, but the whole morning I was locked in a dark room in the studio, discussing with my colleagues a new mobility project we’re designing. We were talking about the paradigm shift that’s needed, away from the vehicle as an isolated object and towards a pulsing and intelligent system in which people and vehicles connect. The flipchart was full of schemes, new pos- sibilities, and lots of fancy words. But in essence we were not talking about mobility, we were talking about technology.
It was only during lunch in the sun on a lovely outdoor terrace in the city centre, that a colleague brought us back to the core of mobility. While watching the buzzing activity of people in the square, he asked: “But what sense does mobility make, if it’s not for meeting
other people and allowing them to share happiness?” That flipchart in the studio suddenly felt very redundant and the discussion finally became more passionate and involving. We talked about people, about how mobility makes us happier, and about what values we need to feel. With a view from within.
That is the perspective and role we need to take as designers when working on new mobility solutions. A personal, sensitive, and fragile role. We must inject a strongly human approach within a mobility context that will be more and more defined by big systems and complex technology. And we should start by changing the mobility-design schools, where all too often talented students graduate with the false impression that mobility is just about the styling of
objects – sometimes hardly knowing where, and if, people fit in. We need for these schools to teach people about society and psychology, and take them back to the core of their creative thinking. Only then will designs emerge as mobile tools for happiness.” LV
( Published in Damn Magazine nr.39 as part of the ‘manifesto series’ )
- Writings & IllustrationLeapfrog Mobility
“In the painting from Breughel the Elder we see people playing in the square somewhere in a distant past. They define the public and urban space. There are no roads yet, no cables hanging in the air or traffic signs telling us what to do. There are no signs of the mechanical technologies that shaped our societies and today’s mobility.
Instead we see kids that are playing leapfrog. And that’s exactly what we need to do when thinking about the future of mobility: start from them, from human happiness, and leapfrog an age of mechanical technology and advance into the possibilities of an organic and digital age.”LV
( published in DDW 2013 Trendbook )
- Lecture SeriesTalking Design
The “Talking Design” guest speaker evenings are part of our drive to bring the design world to Turin and stimulate inter-disciplinary interactions. By hosting a series of talks from global experts in the industry, we share their experience and knowledge with our friends in Turin. The initiative is supported by four forward-looking Turin entities who together select the speakers, organize the logistics, and promote the event to our network: Cluster, Deltatre, Experientia and GranStudio.
Following the success of the first lecture, with Todd Harple, anthropologist and experience engineer at Intel, we held the July lecture with Dan Hill. Dan Hill is a designer/urbanist and CEO of Fabrica, a communications research center and transdisciplinary studio based in
Treviso, Italy. We plan the next lecture for September. All lectures are in English. They will be video recorded and posted online on the Experientia website (where possible).
Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive an invitation for our next lectures.
- Curating Biennale Interieur 2012Design City
Lowie Vermeersch was the curator of the Biennale Interieur 2012, a design event that is organized by the non-profit organisation Interieur Foundation and that attracted almost 90.000 visitors between 20 and 28 october.
As curator, Lowie opted for a renewal of the Biennale that for the first time in its long history took place both at the fairground and in the city centre, emphasising it as a cultural event that is at the forefront of new developments in interior design.
Lowie approached the Biennale with the same search for coherence and attention to detail that characterises all of granstudio‘s projects. It is therefore no coincidence that Lowie was involved in all the aspects that defined this 23rd edition
of the Biennale: the architectural plan, the exhibition design, the visual identity and curating the many design projects that have been especially developed for the Biennale.
All those aspects revolved around the metaphor of the city, a temporary design city that for 10 days was the place to discover, feel, explore and enjoy what design has to offer for our living environment.
More information about the Biennale Interieur 2012 can be found at www.interieur.be.
‘Interieur set a new standard for the design fair experience during its 23rd outing in Kortrijk this week, thanks to forward thinking new curator Lowie Vermeersch.’ Wallpaper Magazine
‘Must say that @Interieur_be is best-produced design fair I’ve seen. (…)’ Marcus Fairs ( Dezeen ) on Twitter
‘…there’s a real sense of energy and excitement coursing through this year’s biennale. This is due in no small part to Lowie Vermeersch, (…) curator of this year’s Biennale.’ Betty Wood - Port Magazine
‘ This biennial is so exciting simply because they’ve got the mix just right.’ Thomas Wagner- Stylepark
An early sketch of the concept 2012 edition: a design experience that connects both the Kortrijk Xpo and the City Center.
Within the fairgrounds the exhibition is designed as a temporary design city with streets, piazza’s, bars and secret corners.
The conceptual ‘Interieur Design City’, with the Project Rooms design installations marking its skyline.
The fairground were designed as a city with streets and lanes cutting through the standard ‘fair-grid’
granstudio designed the scenography as an integral part of the Biennale.
Lowie initiated the Future Primitives project rooms series: 7 designers, artists and architect created a project within the given theme.
The project rooms were displayed on piazza’s that acted as meeting and resting points within the Biennale.
- CollaborationIntegrated Artwork
Granstudio collaborated in the development of an artwork by artist Pieter Vermeersch near Geneva, Switzerland. The installation ‘Intervention artistique sur les silos à sel de la Voirie de la Ville de Genève’ was awarded first prize for an integrated artwork in an architectural context by the City of Geneva.
The work transforms a salt silo, containing four salt containers, into an interactive artwork. Four light containers, with colours derived from those at the salt lakes, vary their intensity based on the amount of salt in each respective container. Placed along the highway, it creates a dynamic interaction with the daily viewers.
More work from Pieter can be found at www.pietervermeersch.be.
The color and intensity of the light is reflecting the amount of salt in the containers.
- Exhibition DesignInterieur 2012 Bars
For the Interieur Biennale 2012 in Kortrijk Belgium, granstudio designed pop up bars as an integral part of the scenography. They allowed the public to eat or take a rest within the atmosphere of the Biennale. They were a symbol of the approach to this Biennale: create a quality context that allows the public to meet and experience design rather than just be informed about it.
The bars were developed in collaboration with Chloroform.
Bar Box is constructed with cardboard panels from BeeLite
Be Bar was designed in collaboration with Robin Vermeersch who developed a specific wallpainting.