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Granstudio (IT) fuses VR and automotive design in Flanders

From its mobility research and design studio in Turin (Italy), Granstudio designs cars and mobility solutions for some of the world’s best-known brands such as Maserati. The 64-strong studio is now acquiring Magicor, a VR and AR start-up from Kortrijk in Flanders. In doing so, Granstudio will also become a partner of the Kortrijk-based Hangar K. This cocreation hub is located near Howest university college, whose game design course has been voted the best in the world. A major advantage, as the Granstudio team uses plenty of gaming software for its design activities. 

Lowie Vermeersch, CEO of Granstudio

Lowie Vermeersch, CEO of Granstudio.

More than just fast cars

Besides Maserati, Granstudio’s portfolio includes various other impressive names. A few years ago, for example, the company designed the first family car featuring solar panels for Dutch company Lightyear. And for the 80th anniversary of renowned Italian race car manufacturer Gian Paolo Dallara, Granstudio designed the Dallara Stradale sports car, which often prompts “Bella!” as a reaction in the Italian streets. 

But Granstudio does more than just design sleek cars. “We work on innovative vehicles and mobility plans on an urban scale,” explains Lowie Vermeersch, CEO of Granstudio. In this respect, the company has designed Digiphy, a physical platform featuring car seats and a steering wheel on which 3D printed elements can be mounted to simulate a specific design. This is complemented by a virtual reality (VR) headset, in which an exact digital version of a car is shown. 

Crosspollination in the works

In short, Digiphy is about bringing the physical and the digital together. For the development of the accompanying software, the acquisition of Flanders-based start-up Magicor plays a major role. The three-member team from Kortrijk has the necessary expertise to integrate Unreal Engine, a sophisticated software for building games and other virtual environments, into Digiphy. 

The presence of Granstudio in Hangar K should promote crosspollination with other start-ups as well as with the courses of Howest university college and the Kortrijk campus of KU Leuven, one of Flanders’ top-notch universities. Needless to say, the nearby presence of the talent pool that comes with Digital Arts & Entertainment, Howest’s award-winning game development course, also plays a major role. Trainees from that course are already active in Turin. 

With support from Flanders (Investment & Trade)

Granstudio’s journey to and in Flanders was made possible through the support of Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT). “Thanks to the helpfulness and trustworthiness of FIT employees Marleentje Verstreken and Peter Verplancken, we were able to learn about all the opportunities offered in a clear and concise way,” says Carlo Limongi, managing director at Granstudio. “They also put us in touch with the professionals needed for the preliminary study and later for the implementation of the plan.”

Over the past year, we have come to know Flanders as a strategic partner for the further development of our Mobility Design. The region is strongly committed to digitization and creates optimal conditions for companies with ambitious growth targets. The presence of strong universities, economic incentives for innovation, a tax framework that facilitates investments and an efficient administrative system are just some of the reasons why we decided to invest in Flanders.

Carlo Limongi
managing director at Granstudio

“Our investment project in Flanders became concrete through the acquisition of a digital start-up born in the Hangar K business incubator,” adds Vermeersch. “Hangar K is the glue that makes all the valuable elements we found in Flanders stick together, a cradle that facilitates the natural growth of a business ecosystem consisting of financial institutions, universities, large corporations and digital entrepreneurship.” 

In short, this is a perfect place for organic growth and the development of new digital companies. We are proud to be part of this ecosystem and will continue to leverage Flanders’ drive for efficiency and innovation.

Louis Vermeersch
CEO of Granstudio

The story of Granstudio in Flanders is all about a perfect wedding between Italian innovation, creativity and flair, and Flanders’ solid competencies and high-performance ecosystem!

Marleentje Verstreken
Economic Representative of Flanders at FIT in Milan

More info

Reported by
newspaper De Tijd
31 May 2022

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