HERBARIUM OF INTERIORS: A Milk Bar, Curated by India Mahdavi

Milan, September 04-09, 2021

Alcova, Salone del Mobile, Milano

longlisted, DEZEEN AWARD installation design, August 2022

commended, FRAME AWARD interior of the month, November 2021

A herbarium is a specimen that becomes its own image. Being multiform, it fluctuates between the image, the 1:1 model, and the object. Similarly, contemporary interiors take multiple directions, from the object to the image, from the media to the space. Despite their diverse forms of existence, spaces materialize in various instances and iterations. Do contemporary interiors resemble herbariums, spaces whose image oscillates between content and representation?

The Korova Bar is a fictional night bar from Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange. Within a dystopian atmosphere, the bar displays a series of naked lying caryatids serving “Moloko-Plus” (milk-plus), i.e. breast milk. Even though the original venue only existed as fiction, its transgressive environment has made the Korova Bar a cult, to the point of providing inspiration for several real nocturnal places around the world. 

Developed by students of MAIA, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture, Herbarium of Interiors revisits the Korova Bar for the Salone del Mobile 2021, exploring the role of image culture in the construction of contemporary interiors. The project thus aims to reframe the boundaries of interior architecture through parallel image-space domains, envisioning a new reality that bypasses traditional distinctions such as interior/exterior, public/private, original/sampled or tangible/mediated, ultimately reaffirming the role of interiors in the construction of contemporaneity.


Chief Curator: India Mahdavi
Project Leader: Youri Kravtchenko
Head of Department: Dr. Javier F. Contreras
Scientific Deputy: Valentina de Luigi
Product Design: Andrea Dalmas
Assistants: Manon Portera, Alice Proux
Graphic Design: Neoneo

Special thanks: Jean-Pierre Greff, Director HEAD – Geneva


Blanca Algarra

Kishan Asensio

Sarah Bentivigna

Dany-Sarah Champion

Robin Delerce

Nina D’Elia

Azadeh Djavanrouh

Marina  Ezerskaia

Lolita Gomez

Camila González

Elizaveta Krikun

Nourbonou Missident

Filza Parmar

Patrycja Pawlik

Karen Pisoni

Louise Plassard

Léa Rime

Patris Sallaku

Camila González Tapia

Marion Vergne

Nobuyoshi Yokota

Image Credits © HEAD – Geneva, Elsa Audouin