HEAD – Genève
Circularity and Interior Design – MAIA, apropå / Geneva, 2022 © HEAD – Genève


MAIA – Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

Interior Ecologies

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.

MAIA: Curriculum
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 Ecologies. MAIA Graduate Show / Geneva, 2023 © HEAD – Genève, Guillaume Collignon

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.

Herbarium of Interiors: A Milk Bar. MAIA with India Mahdavi and Youri Kravtchenko / Milan Design Week, 2021 © HEAD – Genève, Michel Giesbrecht
Interior Ecologies. International Online Conference. December 20-21, 2023