Master in Interior Architecture

MAIA – Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

Interior Ecologies

The Master of Arts in Interior Architecture (MAIA) is a two-year professional programme that views interior architecture at the intersection of space, ecology and contemporary society. Space design is seen as multidimensional, articulating the diversity of interior spaces, objects and media that configure reality on many paths and scales, from material to virtual, and from local to global.

The programme focuses on mastering the professional aspects of the project and studying the public, private and commercial spheres of contemporary interiors, with a focus on the contemporary paradigms of ecology, digital innovation and inclusiveness. The MAIA programme addresses both the responses to contemporary environmental and societal challenges (circular economy, carbon footprint, etc.) and the implications of new ecological paradigms (post-human, non-human, etc.) for interior architecture as a discipline in all its professional dimensions: space design, product design, new media, research, curatorial and editorial practices.

The professional dimension of the programme includes full-scale project realisations and multidisciplinary training that explores new interior ecologies. Never in history has interior architecture produced so many spaces in which the human and the non-human (data centres, greenhouses, botanical installations, etc.) find themselves assembled in new configurations, calling for new ecosystemic thought and action.

The programme is structured over 4 semesters:

MAIA 1 – Glossaries: Sustainable, Post-human Interiors
MAIA 1 explores the glossaries that characterise contemporary ecology and their implications for interior architecture. From the postmodern concept of sustainability in the 1980s to that of the Anthropocene in the 2000s, and from the contemporary paradigms of the Post-human to the Capitalocene and the Cthulucene in the 2010s, the semester is shaped by four studio tracks that deal with the themes of Humans, Animals, Plants and Materials in interior spaces.

MAIA 2 – Assemblages: Technology, Objects, Media Interiors
MAIA 2 focuses on the entanglements between organisms, objects and technologies within the interior environments with which they interact. Considering any form of representation as architectural, from scenography to photography, and from product design to virtual spaces, the semester is practice-based around a core studio and media modules that shape the Master’s presence at the Salone del Mobile, in Milan.

MAIA 3 – Iterations: Research, Curating, Editing Interiors
MAIA 3 produces iterations and samples of interiors in the plural, developing new concepts on the interconnected condition of the networks and ecologies that define contemporary spaces. The semester is research-oriented, focusing on the core competencies of curating, writing, editing and research. Students set up their individual graduation pathway which will be further developed in semester 4. 

MAIA 4 – Diploma: Professional Competences
The final semester of MAIA is centred around the final graduation project of each student. A core studio shapes the semester, complemented by core-skills seminars on professional competences (economy, marketing and communication) that will help shape students’ post-graduate life.
* The language of the MA is English, with some classes in French.
instagram : @head_maia

Teaching: Interdisciplinarity and media
MAIA envisions any form of media as potentially architectural, from writing to photography, drawing to cinema. The programme explores contemporary interiors as platforms of ‘expanded media’, examining their belonging to different places and temporalities, whether physical or virtual, close or distant, ultimately exploring the role of interiors in the construction of contemporaneity.

Professionalisation and Network 
MAIA students regularly work in cooperation with designers on professional projects carried out together with institutions and partners, leading to a career of international impact. The department is visible at international exhibitions and platforms, such as the Milan Design Week and Scènes de Nuit, a research project exploring the entanglements between night and architecture. MAIA includes permanent cooperation with the Joint Master of Architecture (JMA) of the schools of Geneva, Fribourg and Burgdorf, and with the École Camondo in Paris. Additionally, the 2022-2024 programme actively collaborates with Volume Magazine.

International Community  
MAIA students work with an international community of interior designers, architects, artists, curators, and experts from different disciplines, constructing interior spaces that are articulated with the parallel narratives of magazines, films, exhibitions or publications. This transversal approach creates an arena of experimental conditions that proves challenging for teachers, students and real users.

Lecturers, speakers & guests include:  
Vera Sacchetti, Design Critic and Curator. Driving the Human. Basel
Youri Kravtchenko, Principal at YKRA Interior Design. Geneva
Philippe Rahm, Principal at Philippe Rahm Architectes. Paris
Institute for Postnatural Studies. Centre for Postnatural Experimentation, Madrid
Leonid Slonimskiy, Principal at Kosmos Architects. Moscow
Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator on Art and Ecology. London
Line Fontana, Principal at Fagart & Fontana Architectes. Paris
Marina Otero, Architect and Curator. Eindhoven
Apropå, Studio for Lighting and Circular design. Geneva
Hyper Studio, Studio for Digital Innovation. Madrid
Nicolas Nova, Anthropologist of technology. Geneva
Lilet Breddels, Editor of Volume Magazine. Rotterdam  
Ana Luisa Soares, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto
Ahmed Belkhodja, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto   
Simon Husslein, Principal at Husslein Design. Zurich
Michael Jakob, Architecture and Landscape Theorist. Geneva
Bas Princen, Artist and Photographer. Zurich

Head of Department
Javier Fernandez Contreras

Scientific deputy 
Valentina De Luigi

Lucie Landenbergue

Cécile-Diama Samb
Phi Nguyen
Paule Perron
Kimberley Berney


Degree awarded: 
Master of Arts HES-SO in Interior Design