Plateforme 10, one of the Europe’s greatest museum centers in Lausanne

With the recent openings, the Swiss city confirms its vocation as a museum. Our guide to the new artistic and cultural district.

A new long train for art has arrived at the station, with three new museums acting as wagons full of works, objects and images. And that station is Lausanne, Switzerland.

A new cultural hub – located at Plateforme 10 – introduces itself to the world with a solid set of institutions dedicated to the world of arts and design which transcend the limitations of each discipline.

After the opening in 2019 of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts (MCBA) – an architectural work by the Italian-Spanish duo Barozzi-Veiga – the great construction site has finally closed and another “jewel in the crown” has opened its doors, a new museum center that is home to two other institutions: mudac (Musée cantonal de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains) and the Photo Elysée (Musée cantonal pour la photographie), completing the great visionary project of a museum hub, a rare European exception.

Mudac e Photo Elysée alla Plateforme 10. Foto © Cyril Zingaro, Gammuto Sàrl
mudac and Photo Elysée at Plateforme 10. Photo © Cyril Zingaro, Gammuto Sàrl

This is way Lausanne was recently awarded the prize ‘Emerging Cultural Destination’ at the Leading Cultural Destinations (LCD) Berlin Awards 2022, recognizing the most attractive cultural destinations and institutions by highlighting the symbiosis of culture, art and travel. 

The Swiss city already had many attractions. Touristically, because it overlooks Europe’s largest lake in front of the highest Alps in Europe and is located in the middle of the vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Culturally, it is one of Switzerland’s few multi-purpose destinations thanks to its museums and schools of art, design and architecture. And sportingly, because it is home to the Olympic Museum and the IOC, the International Olympic Committee. Now it has raised the level of interest and attraction in the world of arts and design and thus joins a healthy competition with Geneva, Basel and Zurich, which are already international benchmark destinations.


This entire district, a proper art district covering an urban surface area of approximately 25,000 square meters and reclaiming old areas of the city’s railway and central station – and showing cities like Milan how and what can be done in its many railway yards that have been disused for decades – is configured as an open and intercultural, integrated and interactive space, with continuous exchanges, encounters and comparisons between different art forms, between painting and sculpture, design and applied arts, photography and image culture, of the past, present and above all the future.

The opening exhibition of the new museum center has a common and specific general direction. It is entitled “Train Zug Treno Tren”, a typically Swiss theme of collective cohesion, as well as being perfect for the genius loci of the new platform, and it hosts three separate but complementary exhibitions, respectively “Voyages imaginaires” at the MCBA, “Destins croisés” at the Photo Elysée and “Rencontrons-nous à la gare” at mudac. Moreover, you can visit all three museums with a single ticket, and if you do not use all the entries, you can give them to another visitor. 

For the opening and inauguration exhibition (curated by Deputy Director Marco Costantini with Rafaël Santianez), the theme of the “Train”, common to the museums of Plateforme 10, was interpreted by Mudac with the title “Rencontrons-nous à la gare”. Last but not least, there is a first temporary exhibition linked to the permanent collection, with the significant and very topical title “Écouter la Terre” (curated by Amélie Bannwart and Isaline Vuille).

Opening image: MCBA, photo © Nora Rupp

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