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Friday, 03 February 2012

Mad For Mackintosh - Page 4

Written by John Thomson
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It’s not just because his buildings are unique, and they are, but because they’re so damn...well... Scottish.  They’re solid, substantial structures, built for the Scottish climate, as opposed to those slighter neo-classical buildings other people were building at the time. They’re practical too. As I found out at the Hunterian, Mack liked bright, open spaces so he knocked down walls.  In other words form follows function. It’s the mantra that has guided designers and architects for the past eighty years. But in Mackintosh’s day it wasn’t even a catchphrase much less a concept. It would take the rest of the world another 20 years to catch up. 

I went to Glasgow to visit relatives, not to bone up on architecture and furniture but I’m glad I took my little self-guided tour. I landed a skeptic and left a believer. I joined the cult; I’m mad for Mackintosh. I now understand why my first year prof called Mack an innovator and a pioneer.

I’m still not sure about those straight-back chairs though. There were a couple of classics at The Lighthouse but I passed on the opportunity to sit on one for fear of attracting the Mackintosh police. And that’s too bad because The Lighthouse gift shop doesn’t offer Mackintosh chairs for sale, at least not the kind you can put in your suitcase.  No worries; Glasgow is swimming in Mackintosh napkins, coffee cups, key rings and postcards – you name it – and I couldn’t avoid leaving Scotland without a Mackintosh souvenir, however humble, of my own.

(c)John Thomson

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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