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Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Furniture

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DESIGN ESSAY CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH'S FURNITURE Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect and designer whose chaste, functional style exerted a strong influence on 20th century architecture and interior design. He was born on June 7th, 1868, one of eleven children in the Townhead area of Glasgow. From these beginnings, he has become one of the most celebrated designers and architects of his generation. He trained as an architect at a local firm and studied art and design at evening classes in the Glasgow School of Art (Which he then went on to design the front of). He rejected overdecorated Victorian styles in favour of a spare simplicity that feature geometric shapes and unadorned surfaces. In Europe, the originality of Mackintosh's style was quickly appreciated and in Germany and Austria he received the acclaim that he was never truly to gain at home. By 1914 he had despaired of ever receiving recognition in Glasgow. His main influence was Japanese designs and this is obvious from his furniture, which combines attenuated straight lines with subtle curves. ...read more.


Among the bold outlines and boxy shapes of the furniture commissioned for Miss Cranston's Argyle Street Tea Rooms, one chair stood out as the first of it's kind (see pic. 1). This was one Mackintosh's earlier designs and the most characteristic of his famous high-backed chairs. It has a very simple design, probably from his Japanese influences, and Mackintosh has used plain wood surfaces and few colours. This design was very different from the usual Victorian Style because it was so simple. I quite like this chair because even though it is very plain it still looks good. Unfortunately, high-backed chairs of this type were liable to damage when subjected to constant use in the tea rooms; some were reinforced with metal brackets while others had to be reduced in height. The chairs' tall backs did serve some sort of function though. In the crowded tea rooms they helped to define and divide the space; their oval panels being visible over the heads of seated customers. ...read more.


He made a significant contribution to the Art Nouveau movement and his work exerted an important influence on the growing 20th century trend towards simplification and functionalism. Mackintosh's furniture has become very well known and the pieces of furniture themselves have icons. He is celebrated around the world today as one of the most significant talents to emerge in the period which spans from the mid 1890's to the late 1920's. In fifty years time I'm sure that Mackintosh will still be recognised as a great designer and whatever happens his designs will never lose their timelessness. Much of his work has survived and most of his surviving work can be found in or around Glasgow. Although Mackintosh died relatively unnoticed in Britain his work was not going to be forgotten. Today things are made based on his designs, which usually involve unopened flower buds or roses and stripes. Sadly, when Mackintosh was alive his designs were never recognised, but with the recent revival of interest, it is clear that they are still as relevant as they were a century ago. ...read more.

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This assignment gives an insight into the designer, showing some knowledge of his work. There does need to be more comparisons made and more of an analytical approach to the two designs would have made this a better report. ***

Marked by teacher Michelle Anne Turrell 01/05/2013

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