HERBARIUM OF INTERIORS: Learning from Kronenhalle

Toulon, June 2021

Design Parade Toulon

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?

In 1965, interior designer Robert Haussmann created the Kronenhalle Bar for his client Gustav Zumsteg in Zurich. The bar has remained unchanged for 50 years. Whoever walks through the entrance is immersed in a reality that is as well known for its space as for its mythical image, exchanging the bright sunlight and the noise of the city for an elegant, dark and discreet interior. Even if one is not in the Kunsthaus (but on the way), one find themselves in front of a Picasso, a Miró, a Chagall or a Braque, which is illuminated by lamps designed by Alberto and Diego Giacometti.

Developed by the students of the MAIA program, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture, Herbarium of Interiors revisits the Kronenhalle for Design Parade 2021, exploring the role of image culture in the construction of contemporary interiors. Like a crime scene, the exhibition at L’Evêché de Toulon will change throughout the duration of the Design Parade, with objects being stolen and replaced by its images, and vice versa.

The project, thus, aims to reframe the limits of interior architecture through image-space parallel domains, envisioning a new reality that bypasses traditional distinctions between interior / exterior, public / private private, original / sampled or tangible / mediated, to finally reaffirm the role of interiors in the construction of contemporaneity.



Chief Curator:  India Mahdavi

Studio Critic:  Youri Kravtchenko

Teaching Assistant: Manon Portera


Elsa Audouin

Marina Ezerskaia

Thibaut Krauer

Robin Delerce

Patrycia Pawlik


Installation assistant: Valentin Dubois

Head of the Department: Dr. Javier F. Contreras

Scientific Deputy: Valentina de Luigi

Advisory Board: Jean-Pierre Greff, Director HEAD – Geneva


Image Credits © HEAD – Geneva, Elsa Audouin