Capitole, Switzerland’s largest cinema, reopens its doors

Jannuzzi Smith, who created the Cinematheque Suisse’s brand identity, has designed the signage system of the Capitole in Lausanne.

The Capitole in Lausanne, a legendary venue for the 7th art, will reopen its huge 750-seat auditorium on 23 February 2024. It will house two cinemas, a shop and a café and will be the main public outpost of the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne.

The project to transform the Capitole is being financed to the tune of CHF 21.6 million – CHF 5 million by the City of Lausanne, CHF 2 million by the Canton of Vaud, CHF 1 million by the Swiss Confederation and the remainder from patronage managed under the aegis of the Capitole Foundation, the formal owner of the building.

In addition to the restored large historical theatre, an additional cinema, sitting 140 people, has been created in the basement, alongside a new foyer featuring a aluminium walls that reflect the undulating effect of the stage curtains. The new built areas have been excavated underground to preserve the external presentation of the building. Furthermore, a mediateque, a shop, a small specialist bookshop, and a café-bar have also been included.

Jannuzzi Smith’s new signage aims to unify the conservation project with the new building by arranging differently coloured ionised aluminium letters directly onto the new concrete or historical decorated fresco walls.

Architect: Architecum, Visp/Montreux
Visual design: Jannuzzi Smith, London/Lugano
Signage production and implementation: Datacut, Goumoens-la-Ville