Walden exhibition at Schloss Hollenegg explores "our dysfunctional relationship with nature" says curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein

Today VDF has teamed up with Schloss Hollenegg for the virtual opening of an exhibition exploring the wilder side of nature, including a live tour of the historic castle later today.

Taking place in the rooms of Schloss Hollenegg castle in Austria, Walden has been curated by Alice Stori Liechtenstein to encourage people to stop regarding themselves as "masters of the earth" and exploiting nature as a resource.

The castle, which dates back to 1163, is home to Schloss Hollenegg for Design, a cultural programme established by Stori Liechtenstein in 2015.

The Walden show was due to open today but the public opening has been cancelled due to coronavirus. Instead, it is opening as part of VDF with a virtual tour of the castle by Liechtenstein on Dezeen's Instagram.

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Walden is the latest design exhibition at Schloss Hollenegg. Photo is by Simone Sandahl

Walden features works by 20 designers that have been selected by Liechtenstein to "make us reflect on our dysfunctional relationship with nature".

The projects span a diverse range of topics including self-sufficiency and eco-materials, but they are unified by an ambition to offer viewers sustainable ways to bring nature into their lives.

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Its curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein is opening the exhibition in a live tour as part of VDF. Photo is by Lupispuma

"We should really go back to nature and try and immerse ourselves into it," explained Liechtenstein in Walden's introductory video.

"We have to accept we're not the masters of the earth, and that we're only a very small part of a very complex ecosystem," she continued. "We also have to accept that nature is not an idyllic garden that we have to tame, nor do we have to thoughtlessly use the resources for our own benefit."

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
The exhibition explores humans' relationship with nature and features work by 20 emerging designers. Photo is by Lupispuma

The Walden exhibitors are Crafting Plastics!, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Marlène Huissoud, Klemens Schillinger, Sophie Dries, Arvid & Marie, BNAG, Thomas Ballouhey, Thomas Barger, Commonplace Studio, Marianne Drews, Jonas Edvard, Linde Freya, Marc Leschelier, Mischer'traxler, Odd Matter, Marylou Petot, Studio B Severin, Studiotut, Study O Portable, Evalie Wagner and Sander Wassink.

Highlights of the exhibition include a chair made from mushroom mycelium – a biodegradable fungal material – which Jonas Edvard has made to "help us reflect on our need for cohabitation with nature".

Odd Matter has also experimented with natural materials,  presenting a series of vases and planters that are made from mud.

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Highlights of the exhibition include a mycelium chair by Jonas Edvard. Photo is by Lupispuma

Elsewhere, Klemens Schillinger is introducing the Off-grid Lamp – a portable light that needs a person to "produce their own energy" with a hand crank to function.

More abstract projects include a wool rug by Marlène Huissoud's that is modelled on the movement of insects, and a totem-like dry toilet by design duo Arvid & Marie.

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Klemens Schillinger explores the concept of off-grid living with a lamp powered by a hand crank

Schloss Hollenegg is a platform that exists to support young and emerging designers from around the world by offering residency programs and organising exhibitions, workshops and symposia.

To find out more about the Walden exhibition, join the live stream and virtual tour taking place at Dezeen's Instagram later today.

About Virtual Design Festival

Virtual Design Festival, the world's first digital design festival, runs from 15 April to 30 June 2020. It is a platform that will bring the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

VDF will host a rolling programme of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches and more, complementing and supporting fairs and festivals around the world that have had to be postponed or cancelled and it will provide a platform for design businesses, so they can, in turn, support their supply chains.

Find out more here or email vdf@dezeen.com for details or to join our mailing list.

More images

Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Photo is by Simone Sandahl
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Marlène Huissoud for Schloss Hollenegg
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Marianne Drews for Schloss Hollenegg. Photo is by Lupispuma
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Evalie Wagner for Schloss Hollenegg. Photo is by Lupispuma
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Crafting Plastics! for Schloss Hollenegg
Walden by Schloss Hollenegg for VDF
Charlap Hayman Herrero for Schloss Hollenegg. Photo is by Matthew Johnson