edited by Craig Kellogg -- Interior Design, 5/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
There's the candy-colored repro Mock-intosh, and then there's the real thing by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow's dashing patron saint. Come July 11, a repository of the architect's masterpieces reopens after a three-year $50 million restoration by Building Design Partnership: The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will once again display its collection of Mackintosh chairs and chinoiserie screens, plus a writing desk purchased for $1.9 million—alongside a quirky, encyclopedic mix of Renaissance and impressionist paintings, armor, and taxidermy. (Though neither mock nor Mackintosh, the Kelvingrove's 1901 Italianate red sandstone building by John W. Simpson and E.G. Milner Allen has been voted Glaswegians' favorite.)
Not coincidentally, the museum is reopening in time to dovetail with initiatives to elevate Mackintosh's legacy to the level of Antoní Gaudí's in Barcelona, Spain. The effort started in 1990, when Glasgow was the European Union's City of Culture. Now it has officially rebranded itself as Mackintosh's Art Nouveau Masterpiece, and the local Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has proclaimed September 2006 as Mackintosh Month, with exhibitions of work by him and a symposium on his legacy.
A special tourism map guides visitors to various Mackintosh projects in the city, while the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail Ticket gives visitors complimentary access and free public transportation to 11 sites. Next year, his famed Glasgow School of Art will be stripped of its modern accretions and added to the circuit.