THE GLASGOW STYLE
When Glasgow was added to my itinerary the first thing on my list of stops was the Glasgow School of Art. While I have problems recalling the names of all of the famous designers, design movements, and iconic furniture I’ve learned through the years, I never forget a good library. I immediately started googling how to visit the Glasgow school’s room of books.
I was surprised and saddened to learn that a fire engulfed the building a year ago, and it would not be open to the public. A piece of news that I feel should have made it’s way to my desktop. The building was designed by Scotland’s influential architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and was nearly destroyed by a bit of carelessness by a student. Worst day ever. The fire was contained and about half of the building survives. Luckily, the brick envelope along with the school’s archives was saved by some kick ass Scottish Firefighters. The library was not so lucky. Extensive restoration work is in progress, and will be for some time into the future.
Even though an interior tour was impossible, I was still itching to visit the building. I took a student run tour of the exterior, along with visiting an exhibit of preserved furniture. I’m fascinated by the personalities behind these works of art, and I love hearing about the process and quirks of the architect. I was surprised to learn that there was actually a foursome who defined the Glasgow Style in the 1890’s, sisters who married architect best friends. The women were behind many of the art, textiles, and metalwork associated with the Style. I love a story where talented women are allowed to take center stage.
After leaving the school, I had lunch in The Willow Tea Room also designed by Mackintosh. Although much of the interior has been shamefully converted into a gift shop, I still enjoyed the architecture and snooped around the place to find a preserved dining room.
My final stop of the day was Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever visited. It has quirky collections, amazing architecture, and an organ concert everyday. Kelvingrove contained a thorough collection on the Glasgow Style, and was my last lesson on the architectural and interior design movement that shaped many of Glasgow’s buildings.