Baroque and roll: an extraordinary Austrian castle plays hosts to a show of young designers

extraordinary Austrian castle with designers
’Morphosis’ at Schloss Hollenegg for Design launched an exhibition of young designers, overseen by local curator and exhibition designer Alice Stori Liechtenstein
(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

‘It’s the Tuscany of Austria,’ quipped someone on our three-hour journey from Vienna to Schloss Hollenegg for Design. This was difficult to picture at first – but it all became apparent once the car pulled up to the 12th century castle, complete with a courtyard blanketed in wisteria and set against a dazzling alpine backdrop. Located in the Austrian market town of Schwanberg, the castle was once the holiday home of the Liechtenstein family.

The spellbinding venue is the unlikely location for ‘Morphosis’, an exhibition of emerging design talent curated by local exhibition designer and curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein. ‘The [theme] is about paying attention to how change happens,’ explains Liechtenstein. ‘Design can be a tool to make change happen. We are in changing times, happening fast and it’s quite fragile.’

This is the second year Liechtenstein has overseen the programme at Schloss Hollenegg, with the intent to bring design to the rural area. It is also the second time she has opened up an unused room of the castle to the designers-in-residence – this year Lex Pott and Stephanie Hornig – who each spent a week creating works inspired by the eclectic interiors of the castle.

Silver tableware at exhibition

Silver tableware, by Stephanie Hornig, for Jarosinski & Vaugoin.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

Pott’s ‘Tree of Life’ chandelier lit up the reading room, filled with family heirlooms, diaries, albums letters and portraits. Austria-born, London-based Hornig also played with light and reflection; her tableware brought a new sparkle to the sombre winter dining room. The collection was Hornig’s first ever works in silver, created in collaboration with Viennese silver manufacturer Jarosinski & Vaugoin.

In addition to the resident designers’ projects, Liechtenstein invited a further 19 designers to show new works that ‘explore one aspect of morphosis, or showing one passage of it, or two different types of elements’. Peppered across one of the most decadent baroque rooms of the house, Germans Ermičs’ sublime glass pieces complemented new benches by Os & Oos, Marcin Rusak’s experimental ‘Perishable’ series, and lighting by Sabine Marcelis.

‘It’s all about relationships, and how people come together,’ Liechtenstein mused, on inviting designers to show at the bucolic location (many attended the roaring opening, which included an Ibiza DJ spinning decks in the ballroom and goulash for the late-night partiers). ‘[The designers] notice things in my house I’ve seen but haven’t really noticed before, and that’s really special.’

The castle of Schloss Hollenegg with surrounding trees

The castle of Schloss Hollenegg dates back to the 12th century and is located in the Austrian market town of Schwanberg. Courtesy Schloss Hollenegg

(Image credit: Schloss Hollenegg)

Exhibition with designers artwork

Each of the designers’ pieces explore the theme of morphosis. Left, ’Tunnel’ bench, by Os & Oos. Right, ’Shaping Colour’ table by Germans Ermičs.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

morphosis exhibition

Left, ’Filter’ light, by Sabine Marcelis. Right, a piece from Marcin Rusak’s ’Perishable’ series.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

Tree of Light’ chandeliers

Designer in residence Lex Pott’s Tree of Light’ chandeliers lit up a previously unused reading room.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

Possible Tools and Copper Mirror

Left, ’Possible Tools’, by Celia-Hannes. Right, ’The Copper Mirror’, by Nel Verbeke.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

The interiors of Schloss Hollenegg

The interiors of Schloss Hollenegg for Design span baroque to renaissance.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)

sculptures with mesh and ceramic foams

Exploring sculptures with mesh was Dutch duo Odd Matter (left), while London-based Studio Furthermore experimented with ceramic foams.

(Image credit: Federico Floriani)


‘Morphosis’ is open until 31 May, by appointment only. For more information, visit the Schloss Hollenegg for Design website


Schloss Hollenegg for Design
Hollenegg 1
Schwanberg 8530


Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.