Its glory days are over. Now it’s hardly ever in the spotlight. Just now and again, it revels in the sweet air of gala receptions and grand dinners. Hardly anyone sits on it these days: today the emperor’s couch welcomes its celebrity guests far from the Schönbrunn Palace, and spends its time hidden away behind high walls. Literally – because its new address is now at the “Bundesmobilienverwaltung” furniture depot. After the monarchy came to an end in 1918, the emperor’s couch was relocated and put into storage – hanging from the ceiling, to save space. Together with countless chairs, tables, red carpets and other furnishings that once belonged to the Habsburgs. The Bundesmobilienverwaltung is now a storage depot for the erstwhile grandeur of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
Now and then it’s party time. Then the furnishings are allowed out from their shadowy store. Instead of ponderous imperial hymns they get to hear Vienna waltzes. At a gala reception for an international state visit. Tables tense with delight when the imperial silverware decorates them once again. The rather too generous behinds of over-indulged archdukes are a distant memory. Today the ideal guest taking a seat on an imperial chair is a vegan prime minister. For a few hours, the emperor’s furniture enjoys the attention of the international media and republican revelry. Until it’s time to go back into storage. Where the emperor's couch hangs around waiting for its next star appearance.