Don’t mind the gap between Lausanne’s nine-quay train station and Platform 10, the city’s brand new museum district, where three local institutions have recently merged into one.
Presented as one of the few museum districts in Europe, this cultural campus occupies 25,000 m² (the equivalent of 5 football pitches) of a former train repair station and brings together the institutions Musée cantonal des beaux-arts ( MCBA), the Museum of Contemporary Art Design and Applied Arts (mudac), and Photo Elysée, Cantonal Museum of Photography.
Approximately $206 million has been invested in this project; 40% came from private donors. The operating budget is $27.5 million, including $21.5 million in funding and grants. Lausanne may not receive the same level of attention in the art world as Zurich or Basel, but with Platform 10 the city hopes to significantly raise its profile.
“It’s great to see how Platform 10 has transformed small regional museums into a dazzling institution,” said a spokesperson for the site on the day of the inauguration.
The MCBA used to reside in the Palais de Rumine, which still houses the museums of zoology, archeology and geology, as well as one of Lausanne’s libraries. It was to be relocated to Bellerive, a district on the shores of Lake Geneva, but the project was nipped in the bud. Instead, it moved next to the station in 2019, where it is now housed in a building designed by Catalan architects Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga.
In front, Xavier Veilhan and Olivier Mosset The crocodile, a train-shaped wooden structure that weighs 6.8 tons. After applying separately, the artists finally joined forces to make it happen. Stationed outside the MCBA for now, it may eventually change location on campus.
Until now, the mudac, which specializes in design, glass, ceramics, contemporary jewelry and graphic arts, was nestled in the Maison Gaudard next to Lausanne Cathedral, a medieval building later transformed into a school. As for Photo Elysée, which houses a dozen complete collections of works by Sabine Weiss, Jan Groover, Nicolas Bouvier, Charlie Chaplin, Hans Steiner…, it was once located in an 18th century house, which served as a church until the 16th century. The two institutions are now united in a building designed by the Portuguese architecture firm Aires Mateus. The slightly angular opening that crosses the facade evokes a welcoming smile.
Each institution will present (until September 25) an exhibition on railways and trains. This display is based on multidisciplinary crossings. Visitors will discover, for example, sculptures by the American artist Chris Burden in the three museums. And Photo Élysée, which is best known for its collection of 1.2 million photographs, also exhibits painting and sculpture – an opportunity a Photo Élysée representative said the museum has welcomed. Meanwhile, the MCBA presents some of the show’s best-known works, with 60 masterpieces by Giorgio de Chirico, Edward Hopper, Paul Delvaux and others that speak to progress, speed and sexual stamina. .
The mudac portion of the show, titled “Let’s Meet at The Station”, features trains as meeting points. The exhibition contrasts archive images of the Swiss federal railway network with works by Christian Boltanski, Salvador Dalí, Sophie Calle and JR. The window behind Takis’ intro facility overlooks a leased railroad where a private train will be parked for three months. It will be customized by a graffiti artist, whose identity remains secret.
The three shows are accessible with a single ticket valid for three months and “transferable”, that is to say that another person can borrow it and use it. The hope, with Platform 10 – or P10, as the locals seem to have already renamed it – is to boost attendance and make Lausanne an attractive cultural hub. Can Platform 10 succeed like this? His future certainly looks bright.