Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mary's palace of funky art

A stairway inside Princess Mary'snew home Frederik VIII Palace. 
PRINCESS Mary and Prince Frederik have decked their new home in murals, writes Bjarne Aleksander
It has stood for 250 years and undergone several renovations, but the latest makeover of Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary's new home has gaudy clashing with grand.

Body:  Completed in 1760, the Frederik VIII Palace in Copenhagen retains original features such as Corinthian columns, chandeliers and mosaic-tiled floors.

Now, though, many rooms are decorated with modern artworks and motifs ranging from the psychedelic '60s to images of Bambi.

The revamp began in 2004 with the palace, which hadn't changed since the 1930s, getting updated heating and water systems and new energy-efficient windows. A huge, ornate central staircase linking all three floors has also been built.

The 1660sq m gardens have been remodelled and a 40m swimming pool added.

But the biggest change is the murals and paintings introduced to the ground and first-floor rooms, including one showing a map of Australia and a larger one of Tasmania, Princess Mary's former home.

The royal couple worked closely with the 10 artists commissioned to paint the unusual murals.

The $4.5 million project features artists such as Kathrine Aertebjerg, who decked out the new serving kitchen in a nursery scene-like hunting theme, with deer, squirrels and owls.

The vestibule reception room features a reinterpretation of the world by Jesper Christiansen, with the countries and continents in unusual locations.

But it is album artwork from Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin and Powderfinger in the world mural that has puzzled many visitors to the palace, which recently opened for public tours. A royal spokesman explained that the bands are favourites of the royal couple.

Public tours end on May 30, after which Princess Mary, Prince Frederik and their children, Christian, 4, and Isabella, 2, will move in.

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