Groupama Stadium and Training Centre

Lyon, France
Opened in 2016
Architecture, Wayfinding
Between 2002 and 2008, Olympique Lyonnais won seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles, setting a record that still stands. After that incredible run, the club decided they needed a stadium in line with their aspirations and turned to Populous to create it.

Olympique Lyonnais approached the plans for their new home with clear objectives. First, they wanted a world-class venue, equipped with all the features required by UEFA to host international tournaments and events. Next, they wanted a sustainable stadium that respected its surroundings and represented something the people of Lyon could be proud of. Last, and perhaps most importantly, they wanted a new home that would retain the unique relationship between the club and its supporters.

We know better than anyone that the experience of the supporter is at the heart of every stadium. Here, we saw an opportunity to enhance that experience by focusing on three key design areas: the ‘approach’ to the stadium; the ‘discovery’ of its facilities; and the ‘intensity’ of the live event itself. Surrounded by farmland and suburban housing, the stadium is a prominent feature on the landscape, enveloped by a huge roof structure that creates a canopy to beautifully mimic the nearby forests. At night, in a nod to Lyon’s famous Fête des Lumières, the canopy is illuminated, transforming into a beacon for OL that is visible for miles, making the ‘approach’ even more dramatic.




The roof canopy extends over a large proportion of the podium surrounding the stadium, and it’s here that visitors first make their ‘discovery’ of various spaces where they can come together before and after events, with pop-ups, food stalls and live performance areas. Outside of event days, these become civic spaces that locals can use for all sorts of activities throughout the year.

The roof canopy extends inside the bowl too, covering the 59,186 seats to protect spectators from the elements and amplify the noise of their support to create the ‘intensity.’ The OL fans’ tradition of singing to one another has been retained through the unique design of the north and south stands, creating an intimidating cacophony during matches. Exceptional facilities are available for every visitor to the stadium, with bars, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, banqueting halls, eight corporate lounges and more than 100 executive suites.

Tying the three key design elements together, our wayfinding and signage strategy makes navigating the stadium simple, guiding fans from the surrounding car parks and public transport all the way into the seating bowl. The branding evokes the club’s identity, using instantly-recognisable target signs painted directly onto the building’s surfaces as much as possible, with suspended signage only used when absolutely necessary, reducing visual clutter. The wayfinding has been designed so that it’s effective in daylight, low light and artificial light, and looks appropriate whether it’s outdoors or in a luxury suite.

Groupama Stadium is a beautiful stadium, with an exceptional atmosphere that begins outside the enclosure and continues all the way through to the event inside. All the club’s aspirations, in particular to build a real home where the team felt like it belonged, have been perfectly realised by Populous.

Xavier Pierrot

Stadium Manager

With the flexibility to support crowds of 20,000-60,000 people, Groupama Stadium has already hosted its fair share of major events. Six matches of UEFA Euro 2016 were held here, including the semi-final between Wales and eventual champions Portugal — it was even rated the best stadium in the tournament by French magazine Le Moniteur. It became the first venue outside of Paris to host the Coupe de la Ligue Final in 2017, while 2018 brought the Europa League Final to Lyon and in 2019 it staged the Final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Outside of football, it has hosted rugby — including the European Champions Cup Final and five matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup — and concerts from musical megastars like Ed Sheeran, Rammstein and The Rolling Stones.

Disciplines Provided at Groupama Stadium

  • Architecture


    Groupama Stadium is a 59,186-seat, world-class venue equipped with all the necessary features required by UEFA to host international tournaments and events. Populous’ design takes inspiration from the unique relationship that Olympique Lyonnais’ fans have with their stadium. For example, the North and South Stands have been designed to respect and facilitate OL fans’ tradition of singing to one another during games, creating a cacophony of noise and support.

    To maximize the atmosphere created by the fans, Groupama Stadium is enveloped by a huge roof structure, a canopy inspired by the local forests, which protects the spectators in the stands and amplifies the noise they create. This covering, which at 53,700m2 is one of the largest roof coverings in the world, extends over a large part of the podium surrounding the stadium, creating new spaces where fans can come together outside the venue. The roof also helps to create a new 30,000m2 civic space which can be used throughout the year for a range of activities and purposes, accommodating cafes, stalls and pop-up events to serve both the needs of the football club and the wider community of Grand Lyon.

    Inside, the stadium itself has also been designed to offer maximum flexibility in usage, with the ability to host a range of sports in addition to football, including international rugby and concerts with capacities from 20,000 to 60,000. World-class facilities are available for every fan and visitor to the stadium, with bars, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, banqueting halls, 110 executive suites and eight corporate lounges.

  • Wayfinding


    Populous was tasked with designing a wayfinding and signage strategy for the 59,186-capacity Groupama Stadium and surrounding car parks that was clear, distinctive and evocative of the Club’s unique identity and position at the top of French football.

    The Groupama Stadium presented a number of unique challenges for the design team in addressing this brief. With a venue of this size and scale, the wayfinding and signage design had to allow visitors the freedom to enjoy the atmosphere of the stadium without being troubled by navigational concerns. The aesthetic quality of Olympique Lyonnais’ visual identity was also integral to the design strategy. Signage had to work across daylight, low light and artificial light, in outdoor conditions and luxury suites.

    The overarching approach was to use large target signs that could either be painted directly to target functions or, where necessary, be integrated harmoniously with the surroundings. Inside the stadium, the space demanded clear, instantly recognizable target signs, without filling it with clutter. This was achieved through the economical use of signs painted on architecturally available surfaces, with signage elegantly suspended only when necessary.

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