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The 2020 edition of Schloss Hollenegg for Design exhibition titled Walden showcases a number projects by emerging artists and designers, with the aim of creating space for design research, thinking and critique. Upon the invitation of curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein, architect and designer Sophie Dries's collaborated with Austrian lighting company Kaia, responds to Hollenegg's 2020 theme of Walden, with their Inner Glow Chandelier.

From Henry David Thoreau's book 'Walden' or 'Life in the woods' the Walden theme explores welcoming nature back into our lives, unromanticised, the gritty and wild. Hollenegg invited designers to reimagine what this might look like, leaving behind the idea of gardens to be tamed and embracing the feral side of nature. A exhibition to highlight the need for sustainable solutions to our current environmental crisis, a chance to change the narrative.

Based in Vienna, Kaia specialises in lighting made of blown glass, producing chandeliers inspired by the clean lines and geometric decoration of Vienna’s Secessionist architecture. Sophie Dries choose to juxtapose the classic blown glass and brass typical of Kaia chandeliers, with the organic material, paper. Dries's sourcing of paper was just as deliberate, choosing a company rich with history and texture. Italian atelier Paper Factor has a unique history from repairing church statues with the ancestral technique of papier-mâché, to its evolution with the introduction of adding steam to their craft and creating moulds and materials for the designers of today. Produced in Puglia, the paper selected is an evolution of the papier-mâché process and has a raw, textural quality to it that resembles stone, and as Dries explores, another skin on the glass.

As the light filters through the papered egg it becomes matter and creates a beautiful illusion of unity.

The round and polished shape of the Kaia glass recalls that of an egg, a tribute to the Austrian ostrich egg collected by Thoreau and which is now kept at the Natural History Museum of Boston. As the light filters through the papered egg it becomes matter and creates a beautiful illusion of unity. The rough and organic paper contrasts with the smooth and transparent glass, hanging from the rigorous and geometric lines of the brass structure. The way the paper appears to grow over the glass eggs brings to mind the way moss and fungi occasionally grow over walls and buildings. There is a precarious and somewhat imperfect balance in Sophie Dries Inner Glow chandelier between organic and geometric, natural and artificial suggesting the possibility of harmonious coexistence.

A special edition of 8 glass pieces by Kaia will be on exhibition at The Castle of Hollenegg in Austria, with a full collection to be soon launched.

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