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 architect Robert Haussmann created the Kronenhalle Bar for Gustav Zumsteg in Zurich. This bar has remained unchanged for 50 years. Whoever walks through its entrance is immersed in a reality as well known for its space as for its 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 finds themselves in front of in front of a Picasso, a Miró, a Chagall or a Braque, all being 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
Students: Elsa Audouin, Marina Ezerskaia, Thibaut Krauer, Robin Delerce, Patrycia Pawlik
Head of the Department : Dr. Javier F. Contreras
Scientific Deputy: Valentina de Luigi
Advisory Board: Jean-Pierre Greff, Director HEAD - Geneva
Photos: © HEAD – Genève, Michel Giesbrecht