Living With Art: Schloss Hollenegg - Contemporary Art & Design Meets Classical Living

I read with awe this week's T Magazine article about the mammoth task of managing Schloss Hollenegg, a grand historical castle in the East Austrian hillside.  Alfred Liechtenstein at 45, moved with his wife and kids to his ancestral home.  With 52 rooms it can be a daunting prospect figuring out how to make a comfortable home and raise a family in an ancient 21,599 sq ft pile.  

Of course these magnificent piles generally come with an enormous amount of upkeep and Schloss Hollenegg is no different. There’s so much involved in the maintenance and management of a home of that scale.  Even with the family occupying less than half of it, “there’s silver to be polished, plaster to be patched, floors to be waxed.”  Last updated by Alfred's grandmother before she died in 1974, real bathrooms and internal staircase were installed by the most recent occupants.

The castle includes a Renaissance-style courtyard built by Abel Von Holing and renovated in 1550, a grand ballroom painted by Philipp Carl Laubmann in 1750 and a Baroque family chapel  frequented by the local residents.  Numerous ancestral portraits adorn the walls throughout and there's even a fresco family tree dating back 30 generations.

 However, what really caught my attention is that Alfred's wife, Alice Stori Liechtenstein armed with a background in creating exhibitions for the annual Milan furniture fair..."decided that instead of the house merely being her dependant it would become her partner." In 2015 she showcased 23 contemporary designers and artists in the city of Graz,  By 2016 Alice invited artists Dean Brown, Mischer Traxlers and Dossofrioto to be designers-in-residence at the castle.  Together they collaborated on site specific works that now reside side by side with the castle's own antiquities and furnishings as part of the permanent collection.   

It’s quite an achievement that these group shows have now become an annual event.  The art & design community along with an enthusiastic international following all contribute to keeping Schloss Hollenegg culturally relevant and remains in the Liechtentstein family 900 hundred years on.

 The little-used historical rooms of Schloss Hollenegg and their contents are remarkably well preserved, from the Baroque plaster detail on the ceiling to the 18th-century Chinese panels and vases, to the 19th-century Austrian chairs and the portrait of Princess Henriette von Liechtenstein New York Time T Magazine Design Issue -  photography Simon Watson

The little-used historical rooms of Schloss Hollenegg and their contents are remarkably well preserved, from the Baroque plaster detail on the ceiling to the 18th-century Chinese panels and vases, to the 19th-century Austrian chairs and the portrait of Princess Henriette von Liechtenstein New York Time T Magazine Design Issue - photography Simon Watson

   T Magazine article in full  -  a guest bedroom at Schloss Hollenegg -  photography Simon Watson

T Magazine article in full - a guest bedroom at Schloss Hollenegg - photography Simon Watson

 Designer in residence Lex Pott's tree of lights chandeliers lit up a previously unused reading room  photography Federico Florian  i

Designer in residence Lex Pott's tree of lights chandeliers lit up a previously unused reading room photography Federico Floriani

 Stephanie Hornig for Schloss Hollenegg for Design 2017 -  photography by Federico Floriani

Stephanie Hornig for Schloss Hollenegg for Design 2017 - photography by Federico Floriani

 Silver tableware by Stephanie Hornig for Jarosinski & Vaughn  - photography Federico Floriani

Silver tableware by Stephanie Hornig for Jarosinski & Vaughn - photography Federico Floriani

 Inspired by farming traditions of preserving parts of the crop for planting in the next season, mischer’traxler (Austria) created one of a kind pieces from layers of felt fabric, slowly rolled in tree-trunk shapes. Once fully formed, these trunks were cut off in sections and the inner core was revealed as a new object. Nature’s irregularities as found on trees and plants inform the overall aesthetic of the collection.   Gulf News Design Diary

Inspired by farming traditions of preserving parts of the crop for planting in the next season, mischer’traxler (Austria) created one of a kind pieces from layers of felt fabric, slowly rolled in tree-trunk shapes. Once fully formed, these trunks were cut off in sections and the inner core was revealed as a new object. Nature’s irregularities as found on trees and plants inform the overall aesthetic of the collection. Gulf News Design Diary

 Glass, when hot, can be freely shaped. When it is blown, glass expands. The Italian designer Lucia Massari investigated what occurs when the expansion process of the glass is obstructed by a cage before the material hardens. Dead End features hand blown glass from Murano.   Gulf News Design Diary

Glass, when hot, can be freely shaped. When it is blown, glass expands. The Italian designer Lucia Massari investigated what occurs when the expansion process of the glass is obstructed by a cage before the material hardens. Dead End features hand blown glass from Murano. Gulf News Design Diary

 During a visit to the Castle, Jon Stam, one of the co-founders of Commonplace Studio (Netherlands) discovered the Blue Bedroom. The walls are covered by rich blue velvet panels but sadly, the hue had partially faded due to the UV rays of the sun - except for one spot in the room, preserved behind an artwork. Commonplace studio decided to create a wallpaper that would turn back time, taking on a distinct blue shade when hit by Sunlight.  Gulf News Design Diary

During a visit to the Castle, Jon Stam, one of the co-founders of Commonplace Studio (Netherlands) discovered the Blue Bedroom. The walls are covered by rich blue velvet panels but sadly, the hue had partially faded due to the UV rays of the sun - except for one spot in the room, preserved behind an artwork. Commonplace studio decided to create a wallpaper that would turn back time, taking on a distinct blue shade when hit by Sunlight. Gulf News Design Diary