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A student thesis project at ÉCAL / University of Art and Design Lausanne
In the Cloud is a project by ÉCAL / University of Art and Design Lausanne students Nora Fatehi, Souhaïb Ghanmi, Dorian Jovanovic, Michael Pica and Malik Sobgoui. Photo by ECAL/Jimmy Rachez

Editor’s note: Listing updated on October 19, 2022

The overview

In the last two decades, ECAL has earned a reputation as a leading arts and design school. Now located in a 19,000-square-metre former pantyhose factory — which was renovated by Bernard Tschumi in 2007 — in the industrial town of Renens, the school provides students with access to leading-edge technologies including AI, AR, VR, motion tracking and robotics. Other amenities include an expansive material library, prototype workshop, a printing centre (including an offset press, screen printing and lithography equipment) and an exhibition gallery that highlights both student work and that of established artists.

The state-funded public institution attracts students from 40 different countries. Entry into ECAL’s prestigious undergraduate program requires successful completion of an entrance exam and the optional Foundation Year(or equivalent at another recognized institution) or at least 36 weeks of full-time experience in the field. While the Foundation Year and undergraduate curriculum are taught solely in French, the graduate programs are bilingual. ECAL’s approach to pedagogy is predicated on the development of one’s personal creative style, fostering an environment of psychological and physical safety and inclusion that allows students to reach their fullest potential.

Working with some of the industry’s , including the Bouroullec Brothers and Inga Sempé, undergrads at ECAL develop products that consider form and function, acquiring both analog and digital skills alongside knowledge of material science and manufacturing. Students exhibit their work on an international stage, from NYCxDesign to maddbordeaux to Salone del Mobile. Perhaps the most practical facets of the school’s undergraduate curriculum are its graphic design and photography courses, which allow students to produce professional portfolios that help them land gigs with leading firms or establish a practice of their own. The Master of Product Design, meanwhile, balances both research and commissioned projects with real clients, including BMW, Hermes, IKEA and Vitra.

The Master of Advanced Studies, a unique program specializing in luxury and craftsmanship, is partnered with the IMD Lausanne Business School, empowering students with the skills to launch a brand. Students also conduct brand identity analyses, attend conferences and tour luxury goods manufacturers. Projects from the program often go on to be produced by partner companies, exhibited and published in the international press.

Notable alumni

Ini Archibong, BIG-GAME, Thilo Alex Brunner, Michel Charlot, Christophe Guberan, Bertille Laguet, Nicolas Le Moigne, LeviSarha, Carolien Niebling, Léa Pereyre, Julie Richoz, Adrien Rovero, Brynjar Sigurðarson, Giorgia Zanellato

Notable faculty

Ronan Bouroullec and Erwan Bouroullec, Pierre Charpin, Kim Colin, Alberto Meda, Inga Sempé, Alexander Taylor, Wieki Somers, Julie Richoz, Edward Barber, Ville Kokkonen

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