A visit to the MUDAC

By My-Lausanne

The most design place in Lausanne isn’t hidden in the trendy Flon district, but in the heart of the old town, just opposite the Cathedral. It’s the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, aka the mudac for the locals and those in the know.

As you reach the Cathedral Esplanade, you can’t miss the brick building with its pointed roof. From outside, however, it’s difficult to guess what it houses. Once inside, you wouldn’t think it dates back to the 17th century. Of course, it underwent a refurbishment in 2000, and its grey floors and white walls lend it a clean and refined yet comfortable atmosphere.

(c) LT/Laurent Kaczor


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Every year, the mudac hosts between five and eight exhibitions that take over the building for a short period. “Hergé’s World”, “Freitag ad absurdum” – Carte blanche to the Freitag brothers FEAT. Frank & Patrik Riklin – “Safe and Sound”, “This is not a bottle!”, etc. In the heart of this ancient building, each exhibition leads us into a new world.

It’s the small details that reveal the building’s historical importance. On the first floor, the ceiling seems to have been preserved, certainly for historical reasons, as we can glimpse a fresco much older than the exhibited works.

Same thing on the last floor and in the basement, where the museum’s permanent collections are displayed – Contemporary glass art and Ancient Egyptian and Asian art. The loft – with its exposed beams – reminds us of the Musée de l’Elysée’s building. Whereas the basement, with its vaults, feels almost like a mediaeval cellar. It’s the perfect atmosphere to admire the Collections of ancient Egyptian and Asian art, set apart from the mudac’s contemporary theme. In two rooms, we can admire the statues, vases and other figurines, the oldest of which are more than 2,200 years old. Was that the origin of applied arts? Perhaps.

Regarding contemporary glass art, in the loft, everyone needs to see the collection at least once. The creations are technically impressive (while seeming so fragile…) and are further emphasised by lighting that makes them look almost unreal.


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What lies behind the charm of the museum is its spiral staircase, looking out a glass wall. As you climb, you can admire the Mercerie building that houses the Gymnase de la Cité (the local high school), the town centre’s rooftops and the lake. On the other side of the building, on the last floor, you can also observe the Cathedral’s painted portal and rose from above, a rare perspective.

The boutique

Before leaving, you’ve absolutely got to have a look around the museum’s boutique that offers bags, cushions, soft toys, notebooks and many very design decoration objects. A proper (small) gold mine.

You can even sit at a table with a newspaper and a coffee in the middle of this contemporary curiosity shop.


After the visit, you can even enjoy the small pleasures of the old town, with its bars and restaurants. To blend tradition and modernism in an emulation of the mudac’s building, choose a “fondue and hot chocolate at the Evêché”, then a drink on the Great Escape’s terrace or at the XIIIe Siècle. A route well trodden by Lausanne people over the years ;-).

A voir actuellement

15.02 – 16.06.2019, tue.-sun.  11 am til 18 pm

26.02 – 28.04.2019, tue.-sun.  11 am til 18 pm