Banque Bruxelles Lambert, Lausanne

  • Lausanne evokes images of mountains, snow, lakes, steep streets and quaint facades. However, this landscape of the mind rarely matches that of reality. The nearby peaks are often hidden by Lausanne's buildings. There are few open spaces from which to contemplate the buildings at a reasonable distance. Nevertheless, these images are pervasive ones and are therefore recalled in the design of the bank's interior in the hope that those who enter will, for one ineffable instant, discover the view of nature that once was possible. At the bank entrance, a serene, quietly luxurious atmosphere envelops the visitor. The surrounding scene of far-away mountains is deeply, even ambiguously, reflected in the midnight -blue lacquered ceiling and filtered through a soft, hazy light.
  • On closer inspection, the haze reveals itself to be a curtain of fine silk threads hanging in from of a trompe-l'oeil representation. With this illusion, inside suddenly becomes outside. The inversion is carries further: bronze perspective lines along the floor converge on the facade of a model of the building, while two Carrara marble tables - used for banking transactions - are positioned to emphasize the illusion of vanishing perspective. Minimal in line and pure in volume, these objects assume a role as contrapuntal elements in the landscape.

project information

location:   Lausanne, Switzerland
client:   Banque Bruxelles Lambert
cost:   $7,000,000
date:   1983
area:   50,000 sf


  • 1983 Fourth Annual Interior Award Trophy
  • 1983 International Association of Lighting Designers