It was clear from an early age that Charles Rennie Mackintosh was bursting with talent. Born in Glasgow in 1868, he had a flair for drawing and design, and as a young man he embarked on his illustrious career with an architectural apprenticeship and evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. He won several awards for his work, including the prestigious Alexander Thomson Travelling Studentship, which took him on an architectural tour of Italy.
Mackintosh believed an architect was responsible for every detail of the design of their buildings, and his interiors reflect this. Inside, rooms echo the modern, Art Nouveau styles used for the buildings themselves. They often used stylistic details such as a rose motif, high-backed chairs and unique typeface filled with decorative marks, all of which are synonymous with Mackintosh today.
Making the Glasgow Style
The Glasgow School of Art became the centre of an art movement in Scotland, and quickly earned its stellar reputation for architecture, art and design. The distinctive ‘Glasgow Style’ was created by Mackintosh and his contemporaries - Herbert MacNair and two sisters, Margaret and Frances MacDonald. They met as students during the 1890s and became known as ‘the Four’ exhibiting their work across the world. The ‘Glasgow Style’ blended Celtic, Arts and Craft and Japanese influences into an innovative new approach which helped to define Art Nouveau and had an impact on design which can still be felt today. Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald later married, and many of her designs can be seen alongside his as they often worked in collaboration.
From exquisite pieces of furniture in museums to a graceful building in a city park, Mackintosh’s simple and stylish Art Nouveau designs became iconic and can still be seen all around Glasgow. No visit to the city is complete without discovering Mackintosh’s pioneering work.