*This course is offered Fall Semester, 2020

MAIA’s first semester studio is a unique collaboration between India Mahdavi and HEAD-Genève. Reflecting on the concept of « herbarium » as understood within interior architecture – spaces whose image oscillates between content and representation, we propose to revisit a diverse collection of timeless interior spaces and typologies that marked their time but now remain only through photography, from Le Palace club, the Playboy apartment, to XX bank. Updated as a magnificent Herbarium of Interiors in Milan, these spaces replicate not their original images but their mythologies, experiences, and associated cultures. 

Few formats define more accurately the relationship between presence and obliteration than the herbarium. Deprived of life, herbarium specimens acquire a new condition in their timelessness: they exist only in the space of representation, simultaneously as the content and result of depiction. These objects become their own image. Along the same line, India Mahdavi’s 2014 temporary restaurant, The Gallery at Sketch in London, has become the most circulated and shared space in the history of images.

This is the hypothesis that defines us today: to rewrite the history of interior architecture through interior architecture; to understand that certain mythical scenes have not only been witnesses of an era but also become the preachers of future times — mythical places of cultural productions or social incubators which are capable of drawing and redrawing the frame of time.