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 interior architecture and delves into the public, private, and commercial spheres of contemporary interiors, placing special emphasis on ecology, digital innovation, and inclusivity paradigms. The MAIA programme tackles contemporary environmental and societal challenges, such as the circular economy, carbon footprint, and humanitarian design. It explores the implications of new ecological paradigms, including post-human and non-human perspectives, for interior architecture as a discipline across its various professional domains: 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 Post-natural and the Cthulucene in the 2010s, the semester is shaped by studios and modules 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 Milan Design Week. .

MAIA 3 –Iterations: Research, Design, Multiscalar Interiors
MAIA 3 produces iterations of interiors in the plural, challenging the customary territorial focus by asserting that interior spaces construct multi-scalar ecologies from within. The semester combines research and design to address urgent challenges like humanitarian architecture, ephemeral heritage, and design politics. Students set up their intellectual agenda and 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.

Teaching language: English. See all language requirements.

The language of the MAIA program is English, with some lectures conducted in French.

Candidates whose high school diploma or Bachelor's degree was not issued by an English-speaking institution must, after admission, submit by 30 June:

  • a B2-level English language certificate, based on the global scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This certificate must be produced by a language school or other recognized institution.
  • or, a TOEFL test taken no earlier than 1 July 2022, with a minimum score of 92
  • or, an IELTS test taken no earlier than 1 July 2022, with a minimum score of 7.0

If applicants fail to submit one of the aforementioned proofs of English language proficiency by 30 June, the admission offer lapses immediately.
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 The Future of Humanitarian Design, a research project on humanitarian policy and architecture developed with the Geneva Graduate Institute and the University of Copenhagen.   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.
* MAIA allows its graduates to apply for registration in the Swiss Professional Register of Architects (REG A, Interior Architecture).

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
Apropå, Studio for Lighting and Circular design. Geneva
Hyper Studio, Studio for Digital Innovation. Madrid
Ana Luisa Soares, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto
Ahmed Belkhodja, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto   
Simon Husslein, Principal at Husslein Design. Zurich
Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Architect and Curator. Madrid
Meriem Chabani, Principal at New South, Paris
Damien Greder, Principal at Typical Office. Geneva
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
Robin Delerce
Valentin Calame
Paule Perron