Whenever you hear about Mac(k)intosh, you instantly think about personal computer or notebook designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. But it is Macintosh – without K.
I am talking about Mackintosh. Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Those who are in architecture or product design, or have a slight interest in interior design, or maybe just chair in particular, probably are familiar with the name.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, and watercolourist. He was a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement and also the main exponent of Art Nouveau in the United Kingdom. Born in Glasgow on 7 June 1868, his designs were influenced by Asian (particularly Japanese) style and modernist ideas. Mackintosh became known as the pioneer of the modernism, although his designs were far removed from the bleak utilitarianism of Modernism.
In 1884 he began an apprenticeship with John Hutchinson and began attending evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1889 he became an architectural assistant with Honeyman & Keppie. He also enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1890 he won a traveling scholarship and toured Italy before settling down into practice.
While enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art, Mackintosh developed an artistic relationship with Margaret MacDonald, Frances Macdonald and Herbert McNair. Known as “The Four”, they exhibited posters, furnishings, and a variety of graphic designs in Glasgow, London, Vienna and Turin. These exhibitions helped establish Mackintosh’s reputation.
Mackintosh developed his own style: a contrast between strong right angles and floral-inspired decorative motifs with subtle curves, e.g. the Mackintosh Rose motif, along with some references to traditional Scottish architecture.The project that helped make his international reputation was the Glasgow School of Art (1897-1909). During the early stages of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh also completed the Queen’s Cross Church project in Maryhill, Glasgow. This is considered to be one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh most mysterious projects. It is the only church by the Glasgow born artist to be built and is now the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society headquarters.
Mackintosh’s designs gained in popularity in the decades following his death. His House for an Art Lover was finally built in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park in 1996, and the University of Glasgow (which owns the majority of his watercolour work) rebuilt a terraced house Mackintosh had designed, and furnished it with his and Margaret’s work (it is part of the University’s Hunterian Museum). The Glasgow School of Art building (now renamed “The Mackintosh Building”) is regularly cited by architectural critics as among the very finest buildings in the UK. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society tries to encourage a greater awareness of the work of Mackintosh as an important architect, artist and designer.
With a design philosophy solidly rooted in Scottish tradition, Mackintosh disregarded the architecture of Greece and Rome as unsuitable for the climate or needs Scotland. He believed that a revival of the Scottish Baronial style, adapted to modern society would meet contemporary needs. His buildings clearly demonstrate this belief. (Summarised and quoted from Wikipedia and GreatBuildings).
People are familiar with what nowadays called “Mackintosh chair” like those in the right pictures (click here to see his furniture design). There’s a tea room in Glasgow called The Willow Tea Room – designed by Mackintosh entirely, and displays his famous chair – which I hope to visit this weekend. Mackintosh also designed other furniture like book case and cabinet. And all over the world we could buy accessories which are based on Mackintosh design, like bookmark, compact mirror, frame, tea towel, and so on.
For more information about Mackintosh and his works, click here: