Master in Interior Architecture

MAIA – Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

Interior Ecologies

The full-time Master of the Arts in Interior Architecture (MAIA) is a two-year professional programme that explores the entanglements between interior spaces, environments and media through successive decentralisations: from the old totalitarianism that humans have built amongst themselves for centuries (inclusivity) to their position in relation to non-humans (ecology), and finally their relation to machines and virtual environments (technology).

MAIA calls for a vision where the human and the non-human are articulated in new parliamentary assemblies, mastering the professional aspects of the project and studying the public, private and commercial spheres of contemporary interiors. The curriculum addresses both the responses to current environmental and societal challenges (carbon footprint, circular economy) and the implications of new ecological paradigms (non-human, post-human) for interior architecture as a discipline in all its professional competences: space design, product design, virtuality and media, research, curatorial and editorial practices.

The professional dimension of the programme includes full-scale project realisations and multidisciplinary training that investigates new interior ecologies. Never in history has architecture produced so many interiors 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 Comando  in Paris. Aditionally, 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
Marina Otero, Architect and Curator. Eindhoven
Bas Princen, Artist and Photographer. Zurich
Nicolas Nova, Anthropologist of technology. Geneva
Lilet Breddels, Director of Volume Magazine. Rotterdam  
Andrea Dalmas, Principal at Ciszak Dalmas Interior Design. Madrid, Hong Kong
Line Fontana, Principal at Fagart & Fontana Architectes. Paris
Ana Luisa Soares, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto
Ahmed Belkhodja, Principal at Fala Atelier. Porto   
Simon Husslein, Principal at Husslein Design. Zurich
Kai Reaver, Digital Technologist and Theorist. Oslo 
Michael Jakob, Architecture and Landscape Theorist. Geneva
Arjen Oosterman, Editor of Volume Magazine. Rotterdam

Head of Department
Javier Fernandez Contreras

Scientific deputy 
Valentina De Luigi

Lucie Landenbergue

Camille Bagnoud
Damien Greder
Cécile-Diama Samb
Phi Nguyen


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