Alice Liechtenstein can rattle off the architectural history of Schloss Hollenegg, her family’s Austrian castle-turned-primary residence, in less than 60 seconds. “The first mention was 1163,” she begins. “The outer walls are medieval, the two towers are 14th century, the first courtyard is Renaissance, the church and festsaal [that’s German for banquet hall] are Baroque, and the terrace is 19th century. It’s nearly 900 years old, but it was really built through the centuries.” Each generation that had lived on the property – her husband’s family, the Liechtensteins, bought it in 1821 – left their mark on the historic grounds. The beautifully patchworked history got her thinking: “What am I leaving behind for the next generation?”
Five years ago Liechtenstein – an Italian design curator who had lived most of her adult life in metropolises (Milan, Barcelona, Graz) – was much more concerned with the here and now, designing and curating exhibitions during the Milan’s annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair and across Europe. But when the round-the-clock upkeep of her husband’s family estate in eastern Austria prompted the family of five to move there full-time, she began to think about how could she merge her expertise in contemporary design with the storied walls in which she now spent her days.
“I’m a bit stuck in the middle of nowhere,” she explains. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be so nice to have people come here? How to I get people to come and stay?'” Someone suggested an artist residency. “No,” she recalls telling them, “What about a design residency?”
When breadedEscalope realized that the lightning-struck sequoia tree in the garden was brought by a previous resident from America, they felled the beauty and turned it into a magnificent table.