Austria’s Schloss Hollenegg for Design presents 21 conceptual works that reconsider the ritual of dining

Ad Mensam

Built in the 12th-century, the original medieval core of Schloss Hollenegg has been added on to in various architectural styles over the centuries. Set atop the lush forests of Austria’s remote Styria region, the sprawling palace features a Renaissance courtyard, Rococo staterooms, Gothic Revival chambers, and other features.

Schloss Hollenegg is located in the rolling hills and dense forest of Austria's remote Styria region. (Leonhard Hilzensauer)

The palace features architectural details from a number of historic eras: The Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Gothic Revival periods. (Federico Floriani)

This eclectic assemblage of stylistic references, matched with a wealth of material culture and architectural detail artifacts, makes for a dramatic backdrop to showcase some of the best contemporary experimental and conceptual designs out of Europe and the United States.

Alice Stori Liechtenstein—the chateau’s current owner—has done just that. For the past five years, the tireless culture-maker has transformed portions of her family home into a burgeoning design center.

Work by Alexandre Humbert (Simone Sandahl)

Common Sitting by Canadian and Dutch practice Commonplace is a minimalistic, curved bench that comprises two different levels that can be moved independently for different type of social interaction. (Simone Sandahl)

British illustrator Katie Scott collaborated with Austrian heritage brand Lobmeyr to create a set of drinking glasses that each depict a different botanical passion. The Poisons and Antidotes project looks at how 12th-century nobility fought-off the risk of contamination as sabotage by consuming other harmful substances including alcohol. (Simone Sandahl)

Schloss Hollenegg for Design allocates ongoing residencies to young designer with a strong conceptual approach. Each individual, duo, studio, or collective is given a theme and a room from which to develop a commissioned project. The results should, in some way, respond to Schloss Hollenegg’s history while also addressing present-day questions of design and society.

Please, Sorry, and Thank You by Katie Stout considers the concept of the quintessential dinner party hostess gone naughty. The Brooklyn-based design collaborated with Austrian heritage brand Augarten to create a series of porcelain dinner set that depicts this figure in a pattern scheme. The new collection is displayed as part of the A Table Ritual installation. (Simone Sandahl)

Dinner for One by Eindhoven-based OS ∆ OOS is an and installation that derives from the duo's extensive exploration of the castle's vast archive of historical furnishings. Comprised of a repurposed table, a damask tablecloth depicting various dinning rituals, and two hyper-contemporary adornments—sculptural chairs—the project explores the evolution of dinning customs as they relate to Schloss Hollenegg's long history. (Simone Sandahl)

This program is topped-off by an annual two-week-long, thematic exhibition. In mid-May, key figures from the design world descend on Schloss Hollenegg for a celebratory weekend. Throughout the year, Stori Liechtenstein hosts a rigorous design talk program that addresses the themes explored in both the residencies and exhibitions.

The Architecture of a Tea Ceremony by Belgian designer Nel Verbeke is a project that includes both a physical design and a performative sequence of gestures. (Simone Sandahl)

Concave totems, with dome-like capitals, evoke the arched ceilings of certain rooms in the castle. These alcoves let users sit, contemplate, and embrace the ambivalence of their emotions. (Courtesy Nel Verbeke)

For this year’s exhibition, the curator asked 21 designers to create new pieces, or re-contextualize existing work, that addresses the theme of dining table rituals. AD MENSAM—on view till May 27th—explores how this ubiquitous object allows people to gather, share food, exercise etiquette, quarrel, and reunite. There is perhaps no other furniture archetype that facilitates so much human interaction. For that reason, it’s a place where the evolution of rituals has played an important role over time.

Work by Dean Brown (Simone Sandahl)

At the helm of the Schloss Hollenegg for Design program for the past 5 years, Alice Stori Liechtenstein has worked with some of Europe and the United State's brightest talents. (Simone Sandahl)

In particular, works by the past year’s designers-in-residence—OS ∆ OOS, Nel Verbeke, Katie Scott, and Katie Stout—have been installed in key rooms, the spaces from which their projects derive. Other exhibitors include Commonplace, Ferréol Babin, Dean Brown, Crafting Plastics, Alexandra Fruhstorfer, Laurids Gallée, Alexandre Humbert, Kneissl + Prade, Carolien Niebling, Optimismus, Omer Polak, Sara Ricciardi, Studio Plastique, Studio Quetzal, James Shaw, and David Tavcar.