The Craft of Mobility | Content | Monocle

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The Craft of Mobility


Diverse outlook 

To “craft” today is to engage with both an art and a science. Just ask designer Lowie Vermeersch. As the founder and creative director of car design and mobility research firm Granstudio, he leads a diverse team that provides solutions for partners across the industry’s entire ecosystem. Vermeersch oversees projects that span the development of new vehicles, the building of UX models and user-journey maps, and much more. 

Constant evolution

Vermeersch’s multidisciplinary approach to craft is always evolving. It’s an attitude that is shared by UBS. Over the course of its 160-year history, the Swiss bank has refined and diversified its offering, blending precision and expertise with the ability to adapt to different briefs. In the third instalment of our series exploring how the work of different craftspeople mirrors the approach that define UBS’s output, we visit Granstudio HQ in Turin to learn why true creativity never stands still. 


Road to success

Vermeersch talks inspiration, innovation and why becoming a good designer begins with having something to say.


You come from an artistic family. Were you encouraged to craft from an early age?
It was just normal part of life. We had a TV with one black-and-white channel so after dinner my brothers and I would pull out pencils and start drawing instead. It is one of my big fortunes to have grown up in such creativity. What I do today is not art; I’m designing. But art remains an incredible frame of reference for pure, unfiltered, uncompromised creativity.

What brought you to the world of automotive and mobility design? 
Since I was a child, I’ve been struck by the wonder of being moved. It’s still the core of my passion. As soon as I had a bit of money, I was buying bicycles, motorcycles and cars. Then, of course, I also had a technical fascination that comes from being embedded in a family of artists. Being a designer is the sum of those two things.

How would you describe the work of Granstudio? 
We are a creative consultancy that is active in the full ecosystem of mobility. That means that we design vehicles. But it also means that we design basically everything you can see as part of a car without unbolting stuff – this includes digital and interaction. But we also go beyond that. We design mobility systems and strategies for cities and regions, for instance. The second part of what Granstudio does is research. We develop our own projects to make sure that we can go beyond what our clients are asking of us. That’s our way of exploring the future.  

How do you balance aesthetics and function?
To me, aesthetics and function are intertwined. What do you define as beauty? If you define it as an experience, that experience is created by a combination of factors – aesthetic and function being two important ones. But aesthetics and beauty cannot exist without function. Function makes them meaningful. The beauty is revealed in the interaction. 

What advice would you give to a creative or craftsperson looking to find their voice? 
It’s really about your personality. How do you stand in the world? Your design is then an expression of that position – and something that will evolve with time. But it all starts with having something to say.

© UBS 2024. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: Lowie Vermeersch is not affiliated with UBS AG.


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