2018 marks 150 year since the birth of Glasgow-born design icon Charles Rennie Mackintosh, renowned for his influence in the city’s Art Nouveau movements. With his upcoming anniversary, key locations in Glasgow and elsewhere in Britain will be celebrating the life and work of this much-respected architect, artist and designer.
Something of a hidden architectural gem and now HQ of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross is the only church he designed. Commissioned in 1896, it’s an interesting combination of light and minimalism with magnificent stained-glass installations. The church is also a vibrant exhibition space; from 11 May to 9 June 2018, it will host the Museum of the Moon installation as part of UK sculpture artist Luke Jerram’s international tour, an enchanting display of imagery, light and musical composition, including a seven-metre-wide moon artwork.
Originally the Glasgow Herald building, this was Mackintosh’s first public commission. Today, it’s The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture and the ‘Mack’ Centre, a permanent Mackintosh Interpretation Centre where you can chart his life and works and find out how designers perceive him today. Throughout 2018, you can join a tour every Saturday at 1pm to trace the building’s history and the impact ‘Mack’ had on Glasgow; post-tour, ascend the Mackintosh Tower for impressive city views.
Demolished in the 1960s due to subsidence, the former home of Mackintosh and his wife Margaret, also an artist, has since been beautifully remodelled. Salvaged interiors were reassembled at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery and elements from the couple’s personal living space have been carefully recreated in this pristine, light-filled space. Visit on a guided tour only, and look out for one of Mackintosh’s most luxurious possessions; a writing cabinet made from mother-of-pearl, ebonised mahogany and other materials.
Believe it or not, Mackintosh’s designs were disqualified from a 1901 German-based competition ‘Grand Residence for an Art Lover’ but have long been admired by architects and academics. Glasgow civil engineer Graham Roxburgh was so inspired that he made the House for an Art Lover a reality in Bellahouston Park outside the city. Completed in 1996 (to mixed reactions), visitors can decide for themselves whether or not the stark modernist curves, grids and flowers emulate Mackintosh’s style. Stop by the Art Lover’s Shop for replica furniture, stationery and prints inspired by his designs.
Glasgow School of Art
In his later years, Mackintosh became disillusioned with architecture and turned to watercolour art, with most of his collection housed in this Grade A-listed building, designed by Mackintosh himself early in his career. A student-led guided tour offers exclusive access to his furniture designs and architectural mastery; note some sections are undergoing restoration following the 2014 fire. From March 2018, the school offers a city walking tour to appreciate Mackintosh’s ‘Glasgow Style’ Art Nouveau masterpieces.
Willow Tea Rooms
Take a break from the museum trail and pop into the elegant café on Sauchiehall Street to see the works of a young Mackintosh after Kate Cranston, a loyal fan of his work, commissioned him to design a number of her fashionable tea rooms. His keen eye for detail results in an unassuming interior elegance with vibrant colours, replica high-backed chairs, and leaded glass touches.
You can also trace Mackintosh and his work in England:
Mackintosh’s final major commission and the only home in England he designed, 78 Derngate in Northampton is just an hour from London. A riot of colour and patterns, the stylish, light-filled property has been restored and is home to a boutique restaurant, art galleries, and design shop.
The Bell Inn
The Bell Inn in Walberswick, Suffolk is where Mackintosh relaxed in the evenings after moving here in 1914. Enjoy the 600-year-old pub’s quirky interiors over a home-cooked meal before exploring the surrounding village and sand dunes.
43 Glebe Place, London
After moving to England, Mackintosh and his wife worked from the studios of Glebe Place between 1915 to 1923; a blue plaque commemorates the historical significance of this Chelsea property.
For more information contact:
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