ECAL School of Art

Lausanne, Switzerland

A former textile factory allowing an open and generous structuring of loft type, USM furniture synonymous with variability and open to the most diverse forms of work - what more can be done so that students from a high school of art and design can work in ideal conditions.

The famous Cantonal School of Art of Lausanne (ECAL) welcomes 600 young designers from around forty countries to study art, photography, cinema, graphic or industrial design. The integrated gallery serves as a presentation platform for the work done during the studies and at the end of the courses - a platform that is often transformed into a springboard for the career.

The transformation plans of the original building (an old factory of stockings and knitwear) were designed by Bernhard Tschumi. This Franco-Swiss architect, working in Paris and New York, wanted to preserve the industrial charm emanating in particular from the premises of the factory. The facade of the old factory disappears under a second "envelope" consisting of metal bars and corrugated profiles. The colored guide system defining the various areas of use inside finds its correspondence in the primary colors of the bands adorning the facade.

A deliberate choice: generous open volumes flooded with light.

The architect has laid out four courtyards and modified the grouping of rooms, creating new perspectives, a specific opening and depth. A sensible concept because creativity has to have a free hand and needs space.

The spatial structuring and design of the open space is nonetheless a real challenge, the objective being an alternation between exchanges and personal sphere, concentration and communication. Permeability and meeting are other objectives as well as the possibility of working in small groups.

The shelves and sideboards chosen by the school management in the USM Haller range make a decisive contribution here as they offer practical storage spaces while playing a specific spatial role, defining various areas without isolating them - all heights being possible, with total diversity in place.

USM elements were also used to build the sumptuous ECAL entrance. Offices and classrooms are equipped with USM tables. In this architectural concept that stands out with touches of bright colors, the USM Haller design system, available in black, pure white and pearl gray, generates calm and sobriety.

Contact one of our experts to learn more about university layouts using the USM Haller system.