Clear lines at the Café of the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne

Inaugurated in 1841, the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts (MCBA) in Lausanne is one of the oldest museums in Switzerland devoted exclusively to art, with a collection of over 10,000 works. The museum recently opened at its new location, in the up-and-coming art district of Plateforme 10 at Lausanne (VD) railway station. A special solution of VERTICO pendant luminaires hangs on the ground floor of the public museum café realised in the MCBA. With its linear, strict arrangement, it reflects the straight lines of the museum architecture.

Architecture by Barozzi Veiga
The renowned architects Fabrizzio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga won the 2011 MCBA design competition. Parallel to the tracks of the Lausanne-Geneva line, they designed an imposing new building 145 metres long, 22 metres high and 21 metres deep. The MCBA is located at the southern end of Plateforme 10, as a monolithic longitudinal volume. With pragmatic forms, strict geometry and hard, sharp lines, it reflects the industrial character of its surroundings.

Barozzi Veiga

Lighting design
matí AG, project manager Frank Dardel

© PLATEFORME 10, mcb-a; Estudio Barozzi Veiga

Architectural model
© PLATEFORME 10, mudac et Musée de l’Elysée; Aires Mateus e Associados; mcb-a; Estudio Barozzi Veiga

© Simon Menges

The interior of the MCBA is divided into three storeys and is characterised by a pronounced minimalism and a great deal of courage to face emptiness. The building is accessed by an impressively high entrance hall with stairs. In order to protect the collections, the museum has a closed façade on the railway side to the south. A single old arched window becomes the main protagonist of the building's façade and, inside the hall, unfolds its role as an essential structuring element in the sequence of rooms in the new building. Above it, the museum is divided into two wings: the gallery for permanent exhibitions in the east is separated from the gallery for temporary exhibitions in the west.

A more open, permeable and lively façade characterises the northern elevation towards the public space. The brick façade reflects the industrial history of the site and offers the monolith a texture as well as a lively pattern. On the square, the rhythm of the elegant vertical lamellas breaks up the mass of the monolith and opens up window openings. Here the ground floor was developed as an extension of the public square and houses the main public areas such as the café, bookshop and auditorium.

Discreet, linear lighting in the museum café
RIBAG's lighting in the museum café supports the clear, linear orientation of the building architecture. In terms of colour, the VERTICO pendant lamps match the interior design and thus the overall appearance of the museum café and deliberately set vertical accents.

The entire lighting design of the MCBA was carried out by the Adliswil-based company matí AG. The museum café stands out from the lighting of the rest of the museum and sets a counterpoint: "We deliberately chose our own language for the lighting of the café. The aim was to create a pleasant and discreet room atmosphere", explains Hanspeter Keller, owner of matí AG. "Museum cafés are an attractive place in the overall building. Visitors like to sit down in the café after their tour of the museum.  A pleasant place to reflect on what was experienced and seen immediately before, to chat or simply to relax".

The lamps are arranged strictly according to the table arrangement. Above each table are low-pendant lamps which effectively emphasise the height of the room. "The lamps are located in the guests' immediate field of vision, so we were looking for high-quality products", says Hanspeter Keller explaining the choice of lamps. "They are perceived and should have a simple yet decorative effect. The VERTICO lamp from RIBAG meets these requirements. VERTICO also has a focusing ring. This enabled us to adjust the light cone so that it fits the table size exactly".

Completion planned for 2021

Completion planned for 2021

The site of Plateforme 10 will remain a construction site until 2021. In addition to the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts, the new Lausanne art quarter will in future house the mudac (Museum of Design and Applied Contemporary Art) and the Musée de l'Elysée (Cantonal Museum of Photography). The public square with the three new museum buildings is located on the site of the former Federal Railways train depot and was given the name "Plateforme 10" because of its location next to platform 9 of Lausanne station.

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