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WALDEN’s Pockets of Everyday Wilderness

Continuing the ecological conversation that “Broken Nature” at Milan’s Triennale brought forward last year, the 22 designers selected for Schloß Hollenegg for Design’s latest exhibition tap into the design world’s collective consciousness.

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Photography By: Lupi Spuma, Courtesy Of: Schloss Hollenegg for Design.

Mystical instruments, croaking frogs and the pitter-patter of raindrops fill the air as one visits WALDEN — the online-based exhibition curated by the founder and inhabitant of Schloß Hollenegg, Alice Stori Liechtenstein. Previous exhibitions at Schloss Hollenegg have included the themes of slownessmetamorphosislegacy, and the table. This year’s exhibition, WALDEN, has been created around the theme of wilderness in our everyday lives, encouraging the participating designers and, now, audiences to reconsider and embrace the undomesticated, wild side of nature. “It is the time to bring nature back in our everyday life”, we read as we venture into the virtual environment, “not the romanticised, sanitised, domesticated version of it, but the gritty, wild stuff”.

In the images that follow, we see that Liechtenstein and the designers she selected took this to heart: as nature seems to literally be infiltrating the nearly 1000-year-old castle (dating back to 1163) from every corner. From Charlap Hyman & Herrero’s ‘Overgrow  wallpaper  — which covers the formerly empty ceiling and walls of the tapestry room with lush and verdant vines that spill down and seem to be teaming with a variety of insect life — to Jonas Edvard’s ‘Mycilium Chair’ — which can be composted and improve the quality of the soil — WALDEN has grown into a new (intentionally dysfunctional and overgrown) interior landscape in which plants and other organisms are the main protagonists of the world. 

Due to the current pandemic, the five-year-old space for design research has had to approach their exhibition from a different angle. Instead of welcoming visitors into the castle, audiences are able to explore the exhibition online on Adorno and Schloss Hollenegg’s website, including a 3D realisation of the exhibition that viewers can walk through like a video game, and videos that allow the designers to elaborate on the process of creating their works for the exhibition. Although it wasn’t Liechtenstein’s intention, the theme of WALDEN — with its emphasis on nature and seclusion — seems to be even more relevant in today’s climate.

Interacting with these locally-based projects through a website invites a new level of confrontation as the soundscape of the exhibition echoes through our rooms, and the many projects about self-sufficiency and finding new approaches to doing, making and living share a possibility for a co-existing future that can be possible if and when we finally stop procrastinating in an effort to find a ‘miracle cure’.

Everyone is able to see WALDEN until May 31st, 2020 on Adorno and Schloss Hollenegg’s website. The exhibition features pieces designed by Crafting Plastics, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Marlène Huissoud, Klemens Schillinger, Sophie Dries, Arvid & Marie, Thomas Ballouhey, Thomas Barger, BNAG, Commonplace Studio & Tim Knapen, Marianne Drews, Jonas Edvard, Destroyers / Builders, Marc Leschelier, mischer’traxler, Odd Matter, Marylou Petot, Studio B Severin, Study O Portable, Studiotut, Evalie Wagner and Sander Wassink.



Alice Stori Liechtenstein.
Charlap Hyman & Herrero, 'Overgrow'
“OMBROSA” by Evalie Wagner – Telling the story of Schloss Hollenegg as a former summer residence.
Mycelium Chair by Jonas Edvard – Oyster Mushroom grown together with textile and hemp fibers.
Crafting plastics! studio
Sander Wassink, “’Bucket Spilling the Sky’ Lamp” – A spilled bucket is a nuisance, a small accident that disrupts efficiency and order and perhaps by allowing irreverent objects in our home we become more accepting of a little wildness.
Sophie Dries – INNER GLOW Glass and Brass Chandelier produced by KAIA installed in the ‘Red Room’.
“SWARMS” Rug by Designer in Residence Marlene Huissoud produced by cc-tapis.
Odd Matter, “Mud Vase”.
Marianne Drews, "Soils in Residency"
Klemens Schillinger's 'Off-grid Lamp'

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For TLmag39: The Culture of the Object, Adrian Madlener wrote about Alice Stori Liechtenstein’s curatorial vision for Schloss Hollenegg, the 12th century castle that she shares with her family in the Southern Austrian countryside, and which features an annual design exhibition and residency program. In 2023, she presented an exhibition on glass titled, “Ashes + Sand”. On May 4th, 2024, they will open “Wood Land”, an exhibition that will focus on the forest and its primary resource, wood.

Aliki van der Kruijs is a Dutch designer and researcher with a keen interest in the weather and geology, making a body of work, including textiles, ceramics and film, relational to time, place and landscape. This article originally appeared in our A/W 2022 issue: TLmag38: Origin.