While Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s impact on European design reaches far beyond his native Glasgow, the most important works of his career nearly all lie within the city. This 3-hour Glasgow Mackintosh Tour will take us through the heart of Glasgow as we explore Mackintosh’s work as an architect, artist, and designer. During the walk, we will discuss Mackintosh’s life and work within the context of turn-of-the-century, industrial Glasgow as well as his legacy in the city and beyond.
Glasgow Mackintosh Tour
We begin our walk with the The Lighthouse, the former offices of the Glasgow Herald. Designed by architect John Keppie with a young Mackintosh as his apprentice, the building now houses Scotland's Centre for Architecture, Design and the City, and includes the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre. A short visit to the ‘Mack’ Centre will provide an excellent jumping-off point for our walk, and will allow us to see brilliant examples Mackintosh’s work as a designer, while giving us a holistic picture of his career. Before moving on, we will be sure to take in the spectacular view from Mackintosh’s water tower.
Pausing for a short break at the Willow Tearooms, we will experience one of Mackintosh’s ‘total designs’. Kate Cranston, the tearooms' proprietor and one of Mackintosh’s most loyal patrons, allowed him the freedom to experiment within the space. The result was a cohesive, all-encompassing design in which not just the furniture and wall coverings, but every detail down to the light fixtures and cutlery were designed by Mackintosh himself. We'll also stop by the Glasgow School of Art, badly damaged in a 2014 fire but which is currently being restored, and consider the dramatic impact the school has had upon Glasgow's vibrant art scene.
Scotland Street School
We will conclude our walk with a visit to the last public commission Mackintosh was awarded: the Scotland Street School. In addition to the fascinating design of this building, with its twin windowed Scottish-Baronial-style tower staircases, the museum it now contains offers us a glimpse into the past, with recreated school rooms telling the story of education in Scotland over the past one hundred years. We will explore the school, enjoying Mackintosh’s imaginative response to the task of creating a learning environment for children.
Having seen Mackintosh’s work as a furniture designer, architect, and artist, we will end our walk with a clearer understanding of how the ‘father of Glasgow Style’ would have been viewed during his own time, and of his lasting legacy in architecture and design.