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.