‘Harald Thys: PiiP’ at Maniera, courtesy the gallery.

Belgian artist Harald Thys has unveiled his design for a new electric car in Brussels gallery MANIERA, which explores the romantic and utopian ideal of automobiles.

The compact, rounded PIPP prototype is designed to provide transport for busy metropolitan streets without lots of frills. It has a modest, sweet look that is humorous, odd and human. Its design derives from the artist’s emotional response to the idea of a car, free from the marketing-driven spirit of the car world.

Belgian car designer and mobility expert Lowie Vermeersch helped Thys develop his design, which is shown as scaled-down 3D-printed models at the Brussels exhibition.

Vermeersch praised PIIP for being: ‘Introverted, just being itself, free of fashions, humane, unruly, but also proud in a way. Quiet and happy to drive and to exist.’

PIIP has wide glass screens for maximum views, a small turning circle and a top green light that illuminates when in motion. Instead of parking sensors, its bodywork is made from a resilient yet supple material that prevents small dents and makes a gentle ‘piip’ sound if contact is made. It has backwards-opening rear doors, while its six seats are fully detachable to form a generous cargo space.

Harald Thys is at Maniera until November 13, 2022, 27-28 Place de la Justice, Brussels

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