Parish Church of St. Marienkirchen near Schärding

Lasa marble as the basis for an impressive and contemporary language of form

The heavily streaked, parallel blue-grey streaks and clouds of the Lasa Marmo commercial grade LASA VENATO ARABESCATO® used as a floor covering, literally formed the extraordinary basis for the overall concept for the interior renovation of the sanctuary, the Mount of Olives chamber and the nave of the parish church of St. Marienkirchen near Schärding. The artist and photographer Gisela Stiegler, who lives and works in Vienna, designed and implemented the renovation, which was completed in October 2019. Lasa Marmo produced around 215 m² of triangularly designed floor slabs in the format 40x40x2 cm as well as steps for the stairway to the presbytery for the small and tranquil Gothic church built towards the end of the 15th century.

For many years, the parish of St. Marienkirchen near Schärding, a parish in Upper Austria with just under 2,000 souls, had wanted the interior of the church to be redesigned. In 2019, the Diocese of Linz complied with the wishes of the parish and began work on the renovation of the premises in February of the same year. The artistic redesign was in the hands of Gisela Stiegler. The artist, who was born in 1970 and raised in Suben in the immediate vicinity of St. Marienkirchen and trained academically in Vienna and Amsterdam, not only designed the liturgical furniture for the sanctuary (new people’s altar, ambo and seats for priests and altar boys) but also conceived the overall appearance.

A particular challenge was to meet the needs of today's church congregation with the artistic expression of a contemporary language of form, but to do so with respect for the 500-year-old church building, as well as to comply with the guidelines for liturgy and the protection of historical monuments. In addition to the colour white for the altar and the grey for the seats, the artist picks up on the bright colours of the two Virgin Mary windows with the radiant blue of the ambo. Blue is traditionally considered the colour of the Madonna. Also striking is Gisela Stiegler's characteristic treatment of the surfaces of the objects, which is reminiscent of fluting. Accordingly, the special colouring and structure of the LASA VENATO ARABESCATO®, with its white-grey colouring, the light bluish parallel streaks, but especially the marble surfaces brushed to a satin finish in the Lasa Marmo factory, established an excellent connection to the overall concept. The light white-grey floor made of Lasa Marmo is thus unique in the entire region. In terms of design, it creates a foundation and a boundary for the entire room, out of which the altar seems to grow in its undulating movement. With the redesign by Gisela Stiegler in the parish church of St. Marienkirchen, contemporary art in combination with the special colouring of white-grey Lasa marble as a surface covering for the entire floors has left impressive traces in the church interior.

Project information

Schärding, Austria, 2019

Product: flooring 40x40x2 cm

Volume: 215 m2

Surface: brushed

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