Charles Rennie Mackintosh

A doc. on Charles Rennie Mackintosh for what we had to do for our mock in tech, meaning he probably won't be asked in the exam again, but it gives you an idea of what I looked up :) I highlighted parts I thought were helpful for being able to design something by him :)

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  • Created by: Lucy :)
  • Created on: 31-03-13 09:27
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Mackintosh lived most of his life in the city of Glasgow. Located on the banks of the River Clyde, during the
Industrial Revolution, the city had one of the greatest production centres of heavy engineering and shipbuilding
in the world. As the city grew and prospered, a faster response to the high demand for consumer goods and arts
was necessary. Industrialized, mass-produced items started to gain popularity. Along with the Industrial
Revolution, Asian style and emerging modernist ideas also influenced Mackintosh's designs. When the Japanese
isolationist regime softened, they opened themselves to globalization resulting in notable Japanese influence
around the world. Glasgow's link with the eastern country became particularly close with shipyards building at
the River Clyde being exposed to Japanese navy and training engineers. Japanese design became more
accessible and gained great popularity. In fact, it became so popular and so incessantly appropriated and
reproduced by Western artists, that the Western World's fascination and preoccupation with Japanese art
coined the new term, Japonism or Japonisme.
This style was admired by Mackintosh because of: its restraint and economy of means rather than ostentatious
accumulation; its simple forms and natural materials rather than elaboration and artifice; the use of texture and
light and shadow rather than pattern and ornament. In the old western style furniture was seen as ornament that
displayed the wealth of its owner and the value of the piece was established according to the length of time
spent creating it. In the Japanese arts furniture and design focused on the quality of the space, which was meant
to evoke a calming and organic feeling to the interior.
At the same time a new philosophy concerned with creating functional and practical
design was emerging throughout Europe: the so-called "modernist ideas". The main
concept of the Modernist movement was to develop innovative ideas and new
technology: design concerned with the present and the future, rather than with history
and tradition. Heavy ornamentation and inherited styles were discarded. Even though
Mackintosh became known as the `pioneer' of the movement, his designs were far
removed from the bleak utilitarianism of Modernism. His concern was to build around the
needs of people: people seen, not as masses, but as individuals who needed not a
machine for living in but a work of art. Mackintosh took his inspiration from his Scottish
upbringing and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of
Japanese forms.
While working in architecture, Charles Rennie Mackintosh developed his own style: a
contrast between
strong right angles and
decorative motifs with
subtle curves, e.g. the
Mackintosh Rose motif,
along with some
references to traditional
Scottish architecture.


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