Where to begin?
To begin, you might opt for the particularly dense and dynamic central zone, or you may prefer to sample the leisurely lakeside of the southern zone. While the more intrepid will head for the city’s outskirts to explore the bold and contrasting sculptures of the eastern zone, the more curious will enjoy the links between artworks and their environment in the northern zone. Meanwhile, those with an inclination for history might prefer the retro walk in the western zone, featuring some monumental vestiges of the National Exposition Expo 64.
A hymn to life
Welcome counterpoints to the hustle and bustle of a densely populated city centre, works of art offer moments of peaceful contemplation that allow the imagination to wander.
As the historic, political and economic centre, this urban zone resonates day and night to the flow of traffic and pedestrians and the countless activities that unfold within its boundaries.
In such a busy context, artworks find ingenious ways to compete for our attention and occupy the arena. Welcome breathing spaces, invitations to flights of fancy or joyous celebrations, their presence transforms our experience of the city.
Subway passages are brightened up by colourful paintings and mosaics, poetic and magical light installations create an aura of grace and elegance as night falls.
Nature, too, has forged a path through the concrete and bitumen of the city. With five fountains located in this zone, water is particularly present in the heart of Lausanne. A number of animals, some more phantasmagorical than others, venture into the city centre as if to illustrate that nature.
In this context, art is much more than a simple embellishment; by means of colourful or graphic compositions, experiments with light or evocations of nature, it improves the quality of life of the city centre.
While some parts of this district are very busy, the south of the city boasts many quiet areas that are ideal for relaxation and pleasant walks. Far from the bustle of the centre, they provide perfect havens for works of art.
Discovering what’s on offer in this part of the city couldn’t be easier: simply stroll along the embankments and venture into the parks that lead uphill back to the city centre. Artworks here prefer the tranquillity of green spaces, the cool shade of large trees or, by contrast, the fascinating energy of the world of sport and the Olympic movement.
Luscious flowerbeds compete with sculptures in stone and metal along the embankments of the lake, where in the 1900s, the high society from Lausanne and the wider world converged.
Artworks in this district can be playful, intriguing or mischievous, they call out to us. The world they invite us to share is green, pleasant, and sometimes a bit quirky!
Some astonishing sculptures grace the east of the city. Often situated in parks or school playgrounds, they illustrate a variety of approaches in the use and working of materials, including some delightfully strange animals.
Steel, paint, concrete, cast iron, Plexiglas, aluminium, stone, bronze, glass, camomile, thyme, tree fern… The materials used for artworks in this district are as varied, as unexpected. And this originality is often underlined by the choice of form: while some sculptors prefer massiveness, others prefer lightness.
The result is a great contrast between solid and ethereal works of art.
Located at the edge of the city, this zone already has one foot in nature. Here a number of animals, rigorously figurative or joyously imaginative, await us. This revisited menagerie reminds us that in terms of animal sculptures, Lausanne has much to offer.
Keep your eyes wide open when you next go for a walk in the city. In this district and elsewhere, down a side street or along an avenue, you might even come face to face with other creatures, nestling in the grass or standing proudly on a pedestal!
In this zone on the outskirts of the city, art seems to take pleasure in exploring new boundaries. Enjoy the playful transformations that enhance the visit!
Subtle dialogues between art and context
To the north of the city, artworks are often associated with buildings. They respond to the language of their architectural surroundings and offer new points of focus.
This part of the city is home to a number of public buildings, many of which feature works of art. Installations in metal, revisited friezes, monumental sculptures: these artistic creations boldly enhance their environment, or blend discreetly into the background.
In some cases, artworks explicitly direct the gaze, in others they subtly emphasize a route or a direction through a juxtaposition of colours or lines.
While styles and approaches may differ, the beauty of this walk is that we are always prompted to reflect on how the artwork is integrated in architecture or its context.
A work of art associated with a building may blend into its host environment or, on the contrary, detach itself with boldness. But the main interest of this visit resides in the harmonious relationship that art maintains with its surroundings.
Ode to modernity
The west of the city, which hosted the 1964 National Exposition, still retains many of the artworks that celebrated the arrival of modernity and progress, as they were perceived half a century ago.
Open and airy, the green spaces of this zone are ideal sites for monumental artistic creations.
At the heart of this district, the slopes of the Vallée de la Jeunesse descend almost as far as the lake. Inherited from Expo 64, this vast green space is still popular with young people today, who enjoy it as a place to play, run, cycle and skateboard. The park is also dotted with some remarkable artworks.
On the promenade that borders the lake along the parks of Vidy, other sculptures reach majestically to the sky. Their sheer size and verticality make them stand out from the level surfaces of the water and lawns.
Visible from afar, sculptural and fascinating, artworks here are distinctive and prominent. Upright and bold, they have all the space they need to appear majestic.