Lowie Vermeersch is a Flemish designer and the Founder & Creative Director of granstudio. Previously, he held the position of Design Director at Pininfarina. Some of his notable design works are the concept cars Pininfarina Sintesi, Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta, Pininfarina B0 and Pininfarina Nido.
About granstudio: “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 work both as a creative sparring partner for organisations and as autonomous designers for new ideas. We do not just design objects – 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 lovingly restored factory 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.”
INSPIRATIONIST: You were born in a family of artists. Was there any kind of pressure as to follow this career path or did it all come naturally by growing up in an art infused environment?
Lowie Vermeersch: It came very natural. My parents never told me what to do. They left complete freedom of choice, but demanded that once we made a choice that we pursue that choice with passion and discipline. This lesson has helped me a lot during my career, because creativity and discipline need each other.
INSPIRATIONIST: What design from your Pininfarina days are you most proud of?
Lowie Vermeersch: The concept cars, such as the Nido and the Duettottanta. They are the most pure expressions of what I stand for, and they are also a symbol for the scope of my interests: going from finding smart solutions for urban transport to the beauty of performance cars. In fact, I think that it is performance that is central in what I do: both a city car and a sports car need to perform well in their own environment.
Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta
INSPIRATIONIST: GranStudio’s manifesto talks about the growing strategic importance of design and the need for multidisciplinary design ideas. How does GranStudio approach these issues?
Lowie Vermeersch: In terms of Design Strategy, we have good strategic thinkers in the team. We always prefer to start a project at a strategic level, and then develop the design as a part of that strategy. We develop our design strategies with our sister company ‘Reframing Studio’ in Amsterdam. Like that we combine 2 strong expertise’s: that of knowing how to develop new strategies for the future (Reframe) and how to translate those strategies in successful designs. Considering how mobility will evolve in the future, we think it’s important to have a multidisciplinary team to do this. It allows us to think out of the box, and learn from different disciplines.
INSPIRATIONIST: Tell us a few words about the “Talking Design” lecture series and their purpose.
Lowie Vermeersch: The Talking Design series was created exactly for this reason: exchange ideas and expose our designers to new ideas and approaches they would otherwise not get in contact with. The lecture of Dan Hill on the cities of the future was for example very stimulating while working on our urban mobility project. The lecture series is also a tool to bring creative people in Turin more together. There is a lot of creative people, but everybody is working to much in isolation. We want to stimulate to connect more. The world now is about sharing and exchanging, not about hiding behind a wall.
INSPIRATIONIST: Has being involved in the Interieur Foundation had any influence on your projects with GranStudio? As a source of inspiration or a new perspective?
Lowie Vermeersch: Working with the Interieur Foundation brought me into intense contact with a whole creative world that automotive designers normally don’t get in contact with. That was very stimulating. It also helps me to have a broad view on what people’s needs are in the future, not only in terms of cars. An that definitely helps for example when you work on new mobility concepts. It allows me to take my expertise in car design, but at the same time approach project from a new perspective.