Presentation

Creativity, motivation, energy and curiosity are the main ingredients to enter our Propaedeutic Year. This preparatory stage is aimed at students who wish to work in the fields of art or design and allows them to acquire the necessary skills for a Bachelor's program. During one year, this training offers the possibility to holders of a Maturité or a Baccalauréat to familiarize themselves with the methods of the discipline in which they wish to work (Visual Arts, Industrial Design, Photography, Graphic Design, Media & Interaction Design, Cinema). Immersed in the ECAL itself, they learn the essential workings and current techniques inherent in the various fields of contemporary creation.

On the basis of intensive cross-disciplinary courses given by recognized practitioners and theoreticians, students take up numerous subjects (Photography, Drawing, Color, Graphic Design, Art History, History of Architecture, Cinema, Industrial Design, etc.) and become aware of their future orientation one day a week. In addition, they benefit from conferences, exhibition visits and other events that take place in the school.

By benefiting from the know-how of our institution, students can then present a quality portfolio that will allow them to take the entrance exam for a Bachelor's degree at the ECAL or at a university in Switzerland or abroad.

Language

French

Qualification issued

Foundation Year Diploma

Yearly fees (materials included)

from CHF 1 725.– to CHF 21 025.– (according to the residence),
CHF 8 845.– (if a reduction is granted)

Length

2 semesters

Credits

0 ECTS

Useful links

Admissions Contact

Equipments & infrastructures

Foundation Year Space

Learning Objectives

General courses
Description

1/4

  • Familiarise yourself with contemporary artistic practice through issues, quotations or statements drawn from plastic, literary, film or musical works (Image Workshop).
  • Test your theoretical and practical knowledge of physical, chemical and physiological colour, whose main elements are the values, contrasts, harmonies, hues and language codes (Colour Course).
  • Draw by observing and understanding lines and surfaces in order to transform 3D elements into two dimensions (Drawing Course).
  • Draw by highlighting research and experimentation from a purely artistic perspective (Creative Drawing Course).
  • Become aware of your graphic environment and learn about the vocabulary of shapes and colours, in addition to understanding the relationship between typography and image (Graphic Design Course).
  • Create a visual universe “in motion” through video and interaction design (Moving Image).
  • Become familiar with the computers and the main creative software used at ECAL (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and create a portfolio of the best works produced during the Foundation Year, using a combination of the different tools taught (Computer Science Course).
  • Practice photography using basic techniques: natural and artificial light, space and perspective in the field of architecture, still life and portraiture (Photography Course).
  • Acquire background knowledge via theory courses (history of art, film, graphic design, industrial design, photography, interaction design, video art in relation to each of the six major options, etc.).
Option courses

1/2

In addition to theory and practical courses, every Friday student stake a course on their BA major.

  • Fine Arts option
    Develop artistic expression and singularity by tackling sculpture, painting, installation or performance in targeted exercises.
  • Cinema option
    Experiment and learn the basics of the main practical aspects: filming, editing, viewing and teamwork.
  • Industrial Design option
    Research ideas, create relevant and technically simple objects and prototypes and learn how to work in the studio.
  • Graphic Design option
    Deepen the basic formal and colour vocabulary by addressing the relationship between image and text and acquire a working methodology and thinking skills in line with the development of graphic projects.
  • Media & Interaction Design option
    Encourage introduction to digital practices, enabling students to tackle screen and network interaction design, as well as to design and develop personal projects (applications, websites, video clips, video games, connected objects, etc.).
  • Photography option
    Reinforce basic knowledge in technical and practical areas such as digital colour photography, lighting, working with models, sequencing and photo editing.

Projects

This section contains a selection of emblematic or recent projects related to the disciplines taught in the foundation year.
See all projects

General & Option Courses

Documentary film workshop with Guillaume Brac

FILM STUDIES

Documentary film workshop with Guillaume Brac

Studio project with Guillaume Brac

The 2022 documentary workshop was lead by Guillaume Brac. In partnership with the Lausanne Sport!

Caterina Valletta – Up & Down

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Caterina Valletta – Up & Down

Diploma project by Caterina Valletta

Since ancient times, cutlery has always featured in light-hearted, shared moments around the dining room table. Yet, it has always been considered as purely functional, designed for savouring and appreciating dishes and very often relegated to the background, unlike plates and glasses, as we forget its importance from an aesthetic point of view. Up & Down offers to revisit cutlery by creating a non-traditional set with a strong character. Starting with a 2D cut-out on a steel plate, a small detail raises the cutlery so that it does not touch the surface, thus solving a problem that is both functional and aesthetic.

Jamy Herrmann – Memogram

MEDIA & INTERACTION DESIGN

Jamy Herrmann – Memogram

Diploma project with Alain Bellet, Christophe Guignard, Gaël Hugo, Laura Nieder, Pauline Saglio

Today, for many, the memories that remain are only those of images taken with digital cameras. Through this continuous storage process, we offload those moments by trusting instantaneous backups. Memogram challenges this delegation by offering a time capsule in the form of tickets, accompanying our memories with textual clues. www.memogram.ch

Alexis Perron-Corriveau – Flip Off

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Alexis Perron-Corriveau – Flip Off

Diploma project by Alexis Perron-Corriveau

This project seeks to explore the world of sunglasses and its related fashion accessories. The side shields used for mountaineering glasses combined with the unique style of the cycling cap were the conceptual premises of this research. The reinterpretation of these elements gives this pair of sunglasses a distinctive chic, sporty look – a must-have accessory. Stand alone, these handmade glasses are versatile. However, the possibility of adding a visor easily, thanks to a magnetic clip, allows the wearer to be ready for action and stylish at the same time.

Ji Yeong Kim – Epiphany

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Ji Yeong Kim – Epiphany

Diploma project by Ji Yeong Kim

Epiphany refers to a sense of or insight into eternity that is suddenly experienced in ordinary and everyday objects. I wanted to create a meditation object for everyday life that attracts curiosity and encourages us to immerse ourselves in a meditative journey, as I believe in the saying “the unconscious determines our destiny”. The world of the human unconscious is an unknown one that many people try to reach through meditation. But we cannot meditate as often as monks. If you meditate a little every day in your daily life, you will feel a deep sense of peace. Inspired by amazing natural phenomena such as fire, water and fog, this project aims to help your mind stop for a moment and explore its subconscious.

Workshop Heidi News

FILM STUDIES

Workshop Heidi News

Workshop with Benoit Rossel, Arthur Lecoeur

Heïdi News asked the Ecal film department to create ten films based on a series of articles on the theme of food. The students had to make very short films of two to three minutes that could be broadcast on the newspaper's website and social networks.

Valentin Calame – Jean Starobinski. Relations critiques

Design Research for Digital Innovation (EPFL+ECAL Lab)

Valentin Calame – Jean Starobinski. Relations critiques

Diploma project by Valentin Calame

Jean Starobinski. Relations critiques is a research project on the curation of digitised literary artefacts. Initiated by the Swiss National Library, it is structured around an online exhibition based on the archive of prominent critic Jean Starobinski. Through this project, I explored how to take advantage of emerging technologies to create alternative experiences for the public. Around concepts such as the “Aura” of digital artefacts, “Tangiality” and adaptive spaces, I was able to define parameters to increase cognitive gain, visitor engagement and emotional connection with digitised objects. The knowledge generated by this first exhibition will serve as a model for future iterations. In collaboration with : Apptitude SA Swiss National Library (NL)

André Andrade – Poster World

Design Research for Digital Innovation (EPFL+ECAL Lab)

André Andrade – Poster World

Diploma project by André Andrade

Poster World is a design research project in collaboration with the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. Through the museum’s archives of posters, one of the most extensive and important in the world, the project offers a new way of engaging the public with digitised heritage. It materialises in an interactive installation and offers automated associations of posters by combining metadata with artificial intelligence. Key visual features are isolated and graphically illustrated to make the associations explicit. The project opens perspectives on how to represent digitised heritage and how to engage the public. In collaboration with : CVLAB, Computer Vision Laboratory, at EPFL DHLAB, The Digital Humanities Laboratory, at EPFL

Romain Talou – Future Heritage

Design Research for Digital Innovation (EPFL+ECAL Lab)

Romain Talou – Future Heritage

Diploma project by Romain Talou

Future Heritage investigates how to make long-term, high-density information storage technologies more tangible. Working in the context of cultural heritage, the project allows institutions to keep their archives alive using DNA data storage for generations to come. Through a process of design research, the Future Heritage project explores how to make this synthetic DNA storage relevant for institutions today and far into the future. The resulting DNA storage object is designed to withstand environmental and societal changes over the next two thousand years. Using nano-engraving and a semiological approach, the object gives tangible hints and previews of the rich content that lies within it. In collaboration with : Claude Nobs Fondation Swiss National Library (NL)

Gala Espel – Archéologie du futur

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Gala Espel – Archéologie du futur

Diploma project by Gala Espel

What will future archaeological discoveries look like? What meaning will they give our present time through the objects that will have been unearthed? Archéologie du futur (Archaeology of the Future) is a futuristic project featuring a series of objects that give a prospective representation of our material footprint. This project uses photogrammetry – a common tool in archaeology – to scan existing items and, based on these, to create, recompose and think up a possible scenario. A plant wraps around a container eroded by time. A shell fossilises around a metallic rod. A set of objects is created evoking a future where industrial forms are eventually taken over by nature. In time, this digital collection will materialise into silverware and jewellery made with this technology applied to design.

Kévin Goury – Intersection

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Kévin Goury – Intersection

Diploma project by Kévin Goury

Intersection explores the work of lines with glass. The project takes shape through a dialogue between designer and craftsperson. This set of vases, divisible into three parts, provides containers that can be adapted to all types of flowers. Small and compact bouquet, traditional container or soliflore. Each piece is decorated with colourful motifs. These are the result of graphic research on the weave and creation by accumulation. Through conversations and experimentation with the glassblower, they grow in shape, size and shades to adapt to the practice of this unique material. The superimposed motifs respond to one another and create new ones when assembled. At this moment, the vase takes on a totemic and sculptural aspect that livens up the room it occupies. Photo credit: Samuel Spreyz

Briac Laforge – Time in Balance

DESIGN FOR LUXURY & CRAFTSMANSHIP

Briac Laforge – Time in Balance

Diploma project by Briac Laforge

Having spent a year in Switzerland and being interested in the world of watchmaking, I naturally turned to this universe for my graduation project. I liked the idea of using the codes of Swiss watchmaking to adapt them to my work. For my graduation project, I sought to create an object using the precision, details and materials of various Swiss manufactures. The final object is a mobile clock with two balanced hands. The appearance of the object is simple and ethereal, due to the small number of visible parts. Nevertheless, the mobile hides a complex mechanism inside. The goal was to intrigue the user by creating a magical effect with these two balanced hands. Depending on the light, it is possible to read the time thanks to the shadow cast by the object on the ground.

Program

This section lists the detailed modules and courses for each semester of the programme.
Cours généraux
  • Photographie
  • Dessin appliqué
  • Dessin créatif
  • Couleur
  • Image en mouvement
  • Informatique
  • Introduction au graphisme
  • Atelier image
Théorie
  • Histoire de l'art 
  • Histoire de l'art contemporain
  • Histoire de la photographie
  • Histoire du cinéma 
  • Innovation, Interaction, Design
Cours d'options
  • Arts Visuels

  • Media & Interaction Design

  • Design graphique
  • Design industriel
  • Cinéma
  • Photographie

Find all the programme documents below

TESTIMONIALS

Nicolas Pasteur
Mara Wohlfahrt
Flavio Visalli
Mélanie Fontaine
Gabriel Hafner
Marion Reymond

Staff

Head

David Monnet

Coordination

Adjointe technique
Nadège Gallay
Bastien Favre

Assistante
Laura Trummer

Professors

Antonio Albanese
Tonatiuh Ambrosetti 
Luc Aubort
Francis Baudevin 
Clelia Bettua 
Martino D’Esposito 
Daniela Droz 
Christophe Guignard 
Claus Gunti
Grégoire Jeanmonod 
Matthieu Minguet 
David Monnet
Patrick Monnier 
Christian Pahud 
Violène Pont 
Tatiana Rihs

Lecturers

Alfredo Aceto 
Jonas Berthod 
Julia Bünter 
Romain Collaud 
Romane de Watteville
Natacha Donzé 
Pierre Doze 
Marc Dubois
Patrick Keller
Younès Klouche
Nicolas Haeni
Robert Huber
Sylvain Meltz
Adeena Mey 
Anna Percival 
Pauline Perret
Lisa Rebeca 
Denis Roueche 
Laurence Salmon