Thanks to the influence of Art Nouveau aficionado Charles Rennie Mackintosh, dancing contrasts of light and dark, supple roses and undulating lines grace many of Glasgow’s buildings. Experience the famed ‘Glasgow Style’ for yourself with our architecture tour of Scotland’s largest city.
A wonderful re-creation effort, The Willow Tea Rooms — a perfect foodie pit stop during the day’s Art Nouveau tour — offers a glimpse into the debonair mind of Mackintosh. This is all thanks to the original owner Kate Cranston, who commissioned him to work on the furnishings and interior. Indulging in the delicious tea, fresh cakes and traditional Scottish food is made even more desirable when you are seated on the Mackintosh designed towering-backed chairs, looking at the play between light and dark, the hypnotic geometric lines and of course, the rose patterns. Located on Sauchiehall Street, the word ‘Sauchiehall’ comes from the old Scots for ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘Meadow’, which at the time linked in beautifully with Mackintosh’s penchant for incorporating nature into his work.
The work of architect Frank Matcham, the King’s Theatre is worth a look if only to examine the blend of styles woven throughout. Take note of the Bath Street facade with its red Dumfriesshire sandstone, and admire the blending of Art Nouveau and Baroque.
If you are totally dedicated to the pursuit of admiring architecture from the Art Nouveau era — and if time permits — take a 45-minute car journey to The Hill House in Helensburgh, a town on the outskirts of Glasgow. The house and its interior, which features a blend of masculine and feminine features, is a resplendent example of work by Charles Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. Designed for Walter Blackie, a publisher, between 1902 and 1904, this asymmetrical edifice shows remarkable design ingenuity and is open for the public to admire.