MAIA – Master of Arts in Interior Architecture
The Master of Arts in Interior Architecture (MAIA) is a full-time, two-year graduate program that delves into interior architecture at the intersection of space, ecology, and media. Space design is viewed as multidimensional, articulating the diversity of interiors, environments, and multispecies that configure reality along various paths and scales, from material to virtual, and from local to global.
MAIA addresses both the responses to contemporary environmental and societal challenges (circular economy, carbon footprint) and the implications of new ecological paradigms (post-human, more-than-human) for interior architecture as a discipline in all its professional dimensions—space design, product design, new media, research, and curatorial and editorial practices. The professional dimension of the program includes full-scale project realizations and multidisciplinary training that explore new interior ecologies.
The program is structured over 4 semesters:
MAIA 1 – Glossaries: Sustainable, Post-human Interiors
MAIA 1 explores the glossaries that characterize 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 different modules that investigate 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 they interact with. 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 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 multiscalar ecologies from within. The semester combines research and design to address urgent challenges such as humanitarian architecture, ephemeral heritage, and design politics. Students establish their intellectual agendas and individual graduation pathways, which will be further developed in semester 4.
MAIA 4 – Diploma: Professional Competences
The final semester of MAIA is centered 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. Never in history has interior architecture produced so many spaces in which the human and the non-human (data centers, greenhouses, botanical installations, etc.) find themselves assembled in new configurations, calling for new ecosystemic action and thought.
* The language of the MAIA program is English, with some lectures conducted in French.
Interior Architecture operates nowadays at the intersection between physical and mediated spaces, such as those of mass communications, digital platforms, or visual arts. Considering any form of representation as architectural, from hand drawing to artificial intelligence, model making to virtual reality, MAIA explores interior spaces as platforms of ‘expanded media,’ examining their belonging to different places and temporalities, whether physical or virtual, close or distant, ultimately reasserting the role of interior architecture in the construction of contemporaneity.
MAIA: Professional Projects
MAIA students regularly engage in professional projects in collaboration with cultural institutions and economic partners. This hands-on approach allows students to gain practical experience in real projects, preparing them for the conceptual, technical, and administrative aspects inherent in professional practice. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with and be showcased in international exhibitions, including events like the Milan Design Week or Vitra Design Museum. MAIA enables its graduates to apply for registration on the Professional Register of Swiss Architects (REG A, Interior Architecture).
* Explore the latest projects from the Interior Architecture Department on Divisare.
MAIA: Research Partners
MAIA students collaborate on ongoing research projects with academic partners, such as Scènes de Nuit—a research platform investigating the entanglements between night and architecture—and The Future of Humanitarian Design—a research project focused on humanitarian policy and architecture developed in collaboration with the Geneva Graduate Institute and the University of Copenhagen. The MAIA program includes a permanent cooperation with the Joint Master of Architecture (JMA) of the schools of Geneva, Fribourg, and Burgdorf, as well as with the École Camondo in Paris and Toulon. Research is envisioned as central to shaping new professional opportunities, including design, curatorial, and editorial practices, leading to a professional international career.
MAIA: International Community, HEAD – Genève
MAIA students engage in learning within an international community that includes interior designers, architects, curators, researchers, and experts from diverse disciplines. The program benefits from the ecosystem at HEAD – Genève, where it regularly collaborates with other departments such as cinema, fashion, or media design, aiming to redefine the profession of Interior Architecture as a multidisciplinary practice in the 21st century.
Lecturers and speakers include:
Youri Kravtchenko, Principal at YKRA Interior Design. Geneva
Dr Philippe Rahm, Principal at Philippe Rahm Architectes. Paris
Institute for Postnatural Studies, Centre for Postnatural Experimentation, Madrid
Vera Sacchetti, Design Critic and Curator. Driving the Human. Basel
Leonid Slonimskiy, Principal at Kosmos Architects. Zurich
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
Michael Jakob, Architecture and Landscape Theorist. Geneva
Dr Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Architect and Curator. Madrid
Meriem Chabani, Principal at New South, Paris
Damien Greder, Principal at Typical Office. Principal at Hypothesis Atelier. Geneva