As Barcelona has Antoni Gaudí and Chicago has Frank Lloyd Wright, so Glasgow has Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Scottish architect and designer is famed for his Art Nouveau furniture and interiors, which are so effortlessly timeless that they often appear in futuristic films, such as Blade Runner and Inception. This month, his hometown will celebrate his sesquicentennial with “Mackintosh 150,” a series of special exhibits, tours, and walks.
“Mackintosh pioneered the idea of the holistic environment, places for people to live, to study, and to work,” says Stuart Robertson, director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, citing the Scotland Street School, now a museum, where leaded glass towers and carved stone were designed to stimulate students’ imaginations. “His grasp of the effect that a building has on the human psyche was extraordinary.”
Among the celebration’s highlights, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is hosting Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style, a collection of roughly 250 objects, including stained glass and ceramics. Across town, the refurbished Willow Tea Rooms (pictured), designed by Mackintosh in 1903, with signage in the now-familiar Mackintosh font, reopens to the public on his birthday, June 7.