History of Design and Craftsmanship

Glasgow Style Movement

Glasgow Style Movement

The Glasgow Style, Represented by the Glasgow School of Art, is a decorative art movement that emerged in the late 19th century in Glasgow, Scotland. It is considered one of the most important Art Nouveau movements in Britain and was characterized by a combination of traditional Scottish motifs and modern European design elements.

The Glasgow School of Art was founded in 1845 by the Scottish artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who would go on to become one of the movement’s leading figures. The school was founded on individual creativity and innovation principles, quickly becoming Scotland’s artistic activity hub. The Glasgow Style emerged out of this creative environment as a response to the academic art styles that were popular at the time.

This style was characterized by its emphasis on flat, two-dimensional designs that featured bold, geometric shapes and stylized natural forms. It was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasized the importance of handmade craftsmanship and traditional techniques.

One of the hallmarks of the Glasgow Style was its use of bold colors and contrasting patterns. Designers often combined different colors and patterns in unexpected ways, creating designs that were both striking and unique. A key feature was its use of asymmetrical designs, which gave the artwork a sense of movement and dynamism.

Perhaps the most famous exponent of the Glasgow Style was Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose designs were characterized by their simplicity, elegance, and modern feel. Mackintosh’s designs often featured clean lines, geometric shapes, and stylized floral motifs, which he used to create furniture, architecture, and decorative objects. His designs were particularly influential in the field of interior design, and many of his pieces remain popular today.

Other notable figures associated with the Glasgow Style include Margaret Macdonald, Frances Macdonald, and Herbert McNair, who were all members of a group known as “The Four.” The Four were known for their highly decorative designs that featured stylized floral motifs and intricate patterns. Their work was highly influential in developing the Art Nouveau movement in Britain.

The Glasgow Style had a significant impact on the decorative arts in Scotland. Its emphasis on individual creativity and innovation helped to break down the rigid academic traditions that had dominated art education in Scotland for centuries. This Style also helped to bridge the gap between traditional Scottish design and modern European art, creating a distinctive aesthetic that was uniquely Scottish.

Today, the Glasgow Style is still a popular movement in the world of decorative arts. Its emphasis on individual creativity and innovation inspires artists and designers worldwide, and its bold, geometric designs continue to captivate audiences with their striking simplicity and modernity. Whether in the form of furniture, architecture, or decorative objects, the Glasgow Style remains a testament to the power of creativity and innovation in the world of art and design.

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.