LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura
Describing LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura (Lugano Art and Culture) as a simple museum would be a true understatement. In addition to visual arts, this modern cultural centre (inaugurated in September 2015) is also devoted to music and the performing arts, serving as an important point of reference for the whole of Switzerland. Its aim is to promote a rich program of artistic events and to establish Lugano and Ticino in general as a cultural crossroads between Northern and Southern Europe. For detailed information about the program of events offered at LAC, we recommend visiting the website www.luganolac.ch.
Situated in a breathtaking position overlooking the lake, the complex offers visitors a rich program of exhibitions, concerts, theatre and dance performances as well as an array of cultural initiatives and activities for youngsters and families alike.
LAC is home to the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana (the Art Museum of Italian Switzerland), the result of a partnership between the Cantonal Art Museum and the Art Museum of Lugano. Spread over three floors, it hosts temporary exhibitions, ‘site-specific’ installations and a permanent collection. The spaces of the new complex are further enriched by those of Palazzo Reali in via Canova, the current headquarters of the Cantonal Art Museum. The art museum at LAC is primarily devoted to exhibitions targeted at offering visitors an in-depth insight into Modern Art and contemporary research, while the spaces at Palazzo Reali are used to showcase works ranging from the beginning of the 15th century to the first half of the 20th century, with a particular focus on the region itself.
Entirely covered with wood panels and fitted out with a special acoustic shell that is both modular and removable, the concert hall and auditorium is designed to accommodate up to 1,000 spectators. The venue serves as main location for the seasons of LuganoInScena and LuganoMusica and is also used for the performances given by the Compagnia Finzi Pasca and the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana. Moreover, it hosts several of the seasonal concerts organized by the Radiotelevisione svizzera, which broadcasts radio and television programs in Italian.
Spazio-1 is the exhibition area dedicated to the contemporary art collection of Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati. Located in the basement of the Central Park, in front of the cultural centre, Spazio -1 was restructured by LAC architect, Ivano Gianola, to house temporary set-ups and exhibitions from the Olgiati Collection.
This important collection of artworks explores the progression of international artistic styles starting from the early 20th century to date, focusing on several significant movements including Futurism, Spatialism, ‘Nouveau Réalisme’ and Poor Art.
LAC’ s objective is to promote different forms of art, focusing, in particular, on the quality of the offer, with the aim of involving and educating the broadest domestic and international audience possible.
According to Michel Gagnon, director of the cultural centre, “Lac is not only a place where people come to see a performance, a concert or an exhibition, but a dynamic and vibrant cultural centre. I have a precise idea: I want to make LAC unique, a place boasting a strong national and international identity”.
Spaces and architecture
Established as a place of interaction featuring a meld of different artistic disciplines, starting from its architectural configuration, LAC expresses its mission as a comprehensive cultural venue open to residents and visitors alike, providing a showcase for artists and serving as a place where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts. Architect Ivano Gianola – an exponent of the renowned “Scuola Ticinese” (Ticino School of architecture) and winner of the international competition for the architectural project – wanted to create a complex that would be deeply oriented and connected to the city. Visitors are welcomed into a large hall thought of as a large window designed to make the boundary between the inside and outside almost imperceptible. The hall overlooks piazza Bernardino Luini offering a stunning view over the lake and connecting the cultural centre to the 16th century complex of the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli and the adjoining convent, originally built for Franciscan friars. A deliberate choice intended to give a sense of spatial continuity between the interior and the exterior and designed to eliminate, as far as was possible, any feeling of separation between the physical spaces. An invitation to experience LAC as part of daily life, as if it were an open door and the new beating heart of the city. The evocative foyer leads to the concert hall and auditorium designed to accommodate up to 1,000 spectators. Conversely, the museum boasting three floors of exhibition space, can be accessed from the opposite side of the entrance. In addition to the above, the complex also features other important spaces including the Teatrostudio, various multi-purpose rooms, the Agorà – an outdoor amphitheater lying next to the hall – and Spazio-1 which houses Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati’s renowned contemporary art collection.