The Month of Mackintosh

Willow Tea Rooms
                                                                                         Willow Tea Rooms

Glasgow is known for many a thing from its dynamic, bustling nightlife to its luscious array of green spaces to the world-renowned warm hospitality offered by its citizens; however what also sets it apart is its exquisite architecture. Barcelona, you can keep your Gaudi as in Glasgow we have our own architectural master known as Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A Scottish-born artist, designer and architect who was an integral influence in the UK Art Nouveau scene, Charles Rennie Mackintosh is remembered as Glasgow’s most famous son and when you see firsthand his architectural masterpieces, there is no doubt as to why his work is much revered and an iconic part of the Glasgow arts scene. The fact that there is a Mackintosh trail is just testament to the mark that Charles Rennie Mackintosh left on his native city.

While Charles Rennie Mackintosh is now internationally renowned around the world as the father of “Glasgow Style”, Glasgow itself did not realise or recognize his talent until after his death in 1928 meaning that although he worked almost exclusively in Glasgow for 20 years, he died predominantly unknown. Attending the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh became part of a group of artists which became globally renowned as “The Four”. Collaborating on designs for things like furniture and illustrations, their imaginative art graphics were known to be some of the most innovative of the time and as a result of their imagination, could be considered relatively unusual and much different from anything else being designed at the time – it was in a world of its own. Although his work did not gain much recognition in his native city to the extent where he departed to live in London, his work was held in much higher regard internationally where countries like Germany and Austria really embraced and admired his pioneering style and he even exhibited in cities like Moscow and Berlin.

Apart from his inventive and original style, what really set Charles Rennie Mackintosh apart was his strong belief that the architect was not just responsible for the exterior of the building, but also for every detail of the interior – rooms were to be a work of art themselves. Consequently, like his architectural style, his furnishings were highly differentiated but still with an elegance and intricacy. While making his work iconic posthumous, it was also for this reason that Charles Rennie Mackintosh was not as greatly respected during his life because many private clients did not have the patience to see his projects through from exterior to interior.

Although Charles Rennie Mackintosh may no longer be with us in person, his work is very much alive and still standing meaning future generations are still able to admire it and be inspired. Read below to discover some of the star attractions on the trail:

Daily Record Building: The former residence of the Daily Record paper up until the late 1930s, the Daily Record Building is often forgotten but is a must-see due to Mackintosh’s ability to bring light and colour into the dimly lit narrow alley.

The Hill House: Once a domestic residence for the famous Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie, this property is now owned by the NTS. This is an example of some of Mackintosh’s most famous interior designs with the pieces still remaining in considerable good condition despite the passing of time. A particular highlight is the inclusion of Mackintosh’s renowned ladder-back chairs as well as the stunning use of decorative glass.

House for an Art Lover: One of Glasgow’s key cultural attractions and a 4 star rated tourism attraction, House for an Art Lover is located just 10 minutes from the city centre. Once an entry for a German competition, Mackintosh’s vision was only fully brought to life in the 1990s and within the attraction you can see the comparison between the original designs and the actual implementation.

The Willow Tea Rooms: Some historical sites cease being used for their purposes in the name of conservation, however The Willow Team Rooms is one of the exceptions to this as to this today it is still serving the purpose for which it was designed – a site in which to enjoy the finest Afternoon Tea. Containing the original doors, windows and mirrors, this is a fan favourite location for local, national and international tourists alike.

The Lighthouse: One of his public commissions, The Lighthouse (which was previously the Glasgow Herald building but is now the Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture) is a must-see on the Mackintosh trail not least because it contains a permanent exhibition to the man himself but also because tours of the building can be taken so you can obtain a real insider view of Mackintosh’s work.

Queen’s Cross Church: As the only church designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, this is definitely a stop for his fans particularly as it is relatively unknown and is therefore a real hidden gem that is located just minutes from the city centre. Now home to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, there is a host of exhibitions and events held throughout the year and so there is always a reason to visit, if not just to admire the beautiful stained glass.

Mackintosh House: He designed some of Glasgow’s most exquisite buildings, but what about the place he called home? A particular highlight of the Mackintosh trail has to be a visit to the splendid recreation of Mackintosh’s home within The Hunterian which contains interiors designed by Mackintosh itself. The recreation considered even the smallest details such as the use of natural light and is a marvellous insight into how Glasgow’s famous son lived.

The Glasgow School of Art: Of course, there is no denying that the star attraction of the trail has be Mackintosh’s master work which was The Glasgow School of Art – his greatest architectural work. Although partly tragically damaged in a fire in 2014, much remains to be explored with award-winning tours being taken that reflect Mackintosh’s journey from student to architecture extraordinaire as well as an permanent visitor centre. Also including the brand new Mackintosh Furniture Gallery, there is no better place to really understand Mackintosh’s inspiration and life.

While a Mackintosh style tour of Glasgow is always an attractive option regardless of the time of year, there is no month better than October because as well as being the month known for giving us an extra hour in bed and many a scare on the 31st, it is also the month of the Mackintosh Festival! The Mackintosh Festival is a month-long celebration of the life and works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the celebrations encompass exhibitions, events and tours meaning there is something for everyone whether you are a Mackintosh connoisseur or just looking for a family day trip. For full details of all the excitement taking place see here: http://www.glasgowmackintosh.com/festival.

Therefore, with the October holidays still in full swing, there could not be a better time to visit our apartments in Glasgow this month!

Sources:

http://www.glasgowmackintosh.com/ 

https://peoplemakeglasgow.com/things-to-do/mackintosh

http://www.gsa.ac.uk/visit-gsa/mackintosh-building-tours/charles-rennie-mackintosh/

http://www.crmsociety.com/aboutmackintosh.aspx

Image:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_Tearooms

The Man Behind The Watercolours

One of Bryan Evans' works in our Edinburgh apartments
                                                        One of Bryan Evans’ works in our Edinburgh apartments

With all of our apartments we like to bring a stylish touch to them and to make them feel like a home away from home; which is why we like to incorporate modern and striking art that complements the surroundings and catches the eye. With our brand new apartments being located in Scotland’s capital, of course it was irrefutable that we would bring that Scottish edge to them through the inclusion of tartan rugs and pillows embellished with natural imagery such as deers. However, the ultimate touch that pays homage to the historic yet beautiful city which The Spires is pleased to now call its fourth home, has to be the visually stunning works created by Bryan Evans which now adorn the walls of our Edinburgh apartments. Based in Glasgow and known for creating works which depict the atmosphere of the rainy Glasgow and Edinburgh streets, Bryan’s works could not have stronger ties to Scotland. Therefore, whether you have been fortunate enough to admire his talent in our apartments or at one of his exhibitions, we would like to take a moment to let you come become acquainted with the man behind the art.

Although initially hailing from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, Bryan Evans settled in Glasgow post-graduation due to the passion he found for the city when he engaged in a three-month exchange there while studying for his degree in Fine Art at the Loughborough College of Art. A full-time professional painter and printmaker, Bryan Evans’ work can be typified by a variety of factors. To begin with, although he does produce etchings and mezzotints, he favours the use of watercolours which makes sense when you consider how many of his paintings convey the wet streets of many a Scottish town and city caught in the rain; particularly those of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Although rain is undoubtedly a common feature of day-to-day Scottish life, what particularly enamours Bryan Evans with the Scottish drizzle is the array of colours it allows him to use due to the effect that rain has on light and the reflections it casts. As well as the rain, Bryan Evans is also a fan of the dusk and other favoured subject matters include reflecting people engaging in those ordinary moments of day-to-day life as well as capturing the gloomy atmosphere of dark tenement closes. See some examples of these stunning works here: http://bryanevans.com/reproduction-prints/.

It is quite likely that you will have already encountered Bryan Evan’s works because not only has he been exhibited across the UK, but he has also made it onto the international stage by exhibiting in locations as far away and as exotic as India and the USA. Moreover, while his works speak a thousand words about the strong talent and creativity he has to offer, the fact that the ‘Glasgow Herald’ even once proclaimed him as “The New Scottish Impressionist” just cements the fact. Therefore, we feel extremely grateful to have Bryan’s well-regarded works adorning our walls and I can honestly say here at the office we were all extremely excited when we first saw the prints due to the unique way they bring the Scottish streets and closes to life through their vibrant array of colours and beautiful technique.

Therefore, if you happen to have been fortunate enough to have admired Bryan’s work and want to see more, make sure to check out his dedicated website which includes everything from the exhibitions he is appearing at to his current works: http://bryanevans.com/ .  Alternatively, you can find his work and keep up-to-date with all his news on good old Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/BryanEvansArt. We hope you appreciate and admire his beautiful pieces as much we do.

Information Source: http://bryanevans.com/

The Simple Art of Smiling

We use them each and every day. In fact, I am 99% sure you will have used one today, if not even in the last few hours since lunch. It is a symbol universally known that can be understood in every language and by people of essentially any age: the smiley emoji. Of course, one cannot mention the smiley emoji without using a visual example…..

🙂

We all use this useful little guy countless times throughout our life but where did it come from? Well, as part of today’s history lesson, I am going to take you back to Massachusetts in 1963 where a gentleman by the name of Harvey Ball, who was a commercial artist, first coined the image that was going to become renowned around the world as part of a task to boost employee morale at a local firm through the design of an happy face…and it only took him 10 minutes (your piece of trivia for the day!). It may have only taken 10 minutes to create, but it is an image that has become iconic and will undoubtedly be passed through a plethora of generations; reflecting how simplicity and a smile can be the quickest and most effective solutions to any issue.

However, as a response to the fear that the smiley face was becoming over-commercialised, and so it was not an act being reproduced genuinely between person to person, Mr. Ball made the executive decision to create “World Smile Day”. This beautiful day is dedicated to the simple art of smiling and to ensure that on at least one day in every year, we take the time out of our day to put a smile on someone’s face and to therefore restore happiness across the world.

Being in the hospitality industry, there is almost no symbol more synonymous with our offering than the smiley face because our ultimate goal is to create lasting memories for our guests that leave them walking out of reception with you guessed it, a smile. If our customers leave without a smile, then we have not done our job right. Therefore, we present to you our lovely readers, the 10 things that have us smiling this season at The Spires and hopefully our smiles will in turn put one on your face too so as to spread the cheer.

  1. Customer Satisfaction

Being in the hospitality industry, one of things that makes us smile the brightest is going as far as we can to deliver the ultimate guest experience and to know that we have succeeded in making our guests smile in return. That is why Trip Advisor reviews are such a key reason for our happiness as it is great to hear first-hand how our guest’s stay was and what made their stay (hopefully!) enjoyable. It helps us to determine what to keep on doing and what to improve upon. Having worked in the Front of House, I can personally attest to how there was nothing that brightened my day quite like knowing I had put a smile on one of my customer’s faces whether it had been through the simple act of giving them directions; generating a WiFi pin (something which never fails to raise a smile!) or merely giving them the key to their apartment. There is no feeling quite as potent or as powerful as knowing you have impacted someone’s day in a positive way, and it is amazing how it is the smallest things that can have someone flashing those pearls.

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  1. The Apartment Collection

-This is the latest development at The Spires and has seen us moving up in the world by become a serviced apartment agent as well as a serviced apartment operator. As a result, we are now a one-stop-shop for all our customer’s serviced apartments needs and so whether they want to stay in the UK or even in far-flung locations like Asia or Australia, we can make it happen. Therefore, we are smiling as we have expanded our business and are therefore in a position which enables us to better meet and serve the rapidly evolving needs of our customers. It is great to know that wherever our customers choose to go, we can play a part in creating the ultimate vacation for them. To learn more and understand why we are smiling, check out our dedicated website to “The Apartment Collection – By The Spires” – www.theapartmentcollection.co.uk.

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  1. The Spires in Edinburgh

-If there is anything that has had us smiling this season it has been the much anticipated opening of our newest location: The Spires Edinburgh. With a mix of Studio, One-Bedroom, Two-Bedroom and Two-Bedroom Plus apartments, we can cater to a wide range of accommodation requirements and whichever style of apartment you stay in, you are guaranteed a luxury experience due to the tasteful, refined surroundings of our modern and beautifully designed apartments. Conveniently located only minutes away from the action of some of Edinburgh’s most renowned streets, a certain Princes Street is only a hop and skip away, The Spires Edinburgh offers an oasis of calm from all the hustle and excitement emanating through the historic, stunning streets. In particular, the amazing top floor views of the Firth of the Forth have us smiling due to the stunning blend of city and nature. To learn more, visit our dedicated Edinburgh page: www.thespires.co.uk/edinburgh-serviced-apartments-and-suites.

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  1. New Arrivals

-Whether they are new guests or loyal customers, happiness and big grins always stems from the arrival of guests to The Spires. It is a new chance to make another positive impression and to hopefully make another happy guest.

  1. Social Media Interaction

-Every ‘Follow’, ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet’ has us grinning like a Cheshire Cat because it gives us a chance to successfully engage with our guests and to feel like we are building a relationship with them – even when they are not staying with us. That is why we try to cover as many social media channels as possible so that whatever our guests are into, whether it is being a Master Tweeter or a prolific Pinterest pinner or even a passionate blogger, we can reach out and talk to them. It may be misplaced vanity, but every new follower we get makes us feel like we have done a job well done and that we are appreciated (hint: follow us please, it has been “scientifically proven” how increased likes leads to smiling ;))

  1. Snack Table

-It is the foundation of every office across the nation: the snack table. No office is complete without one and no office productive. Whenever we are feeling down, tired or just plain gluttonous, it is our never-ending stashes of biscuits and tea/coffee that we turn to so as to restore our joy and to turn that frown upside down in rapid speed time – particularly when cake glorious cake is involved. As they say, there is nothing that a good cup of tea and a Kit-Kat cannot solve! Click here to read more about everyone’s favourite table: https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-snack-table-2/

  1. Travelling

-Being under the umbrella of the tourism industry, travelling is something that we all love to engage in. Whether it is going to exotic locations like Dubai or India to liaise with potential suppliers on a business trip or even just taking mini-breaks to one of our respective locations like Birmingham, the chance to make new connections, to see new places and to experience new cultures always has us smiling because the world was made to be seen and explored and these are memories that will last a lifetime.

  1. Fall

-Get the warm mugs of cocoa out and that favourite scarf your grandma knitted because the fall/winter season is here! Between the sugary sweet yet spectacularly spooky mystery of Halloween and the breath-taking allure and magic of Bonfire Night, there is so much to look forward to. Whether it is the colourful array of crisp leaves that line the streets, the new selection of clothes in the shops or the temptation of seasonal products such as Pumpkin Spiced Latter, there is nothing quite like the Autumn atmosphere to put a warm smile on our faces to defend ourselves against the increasing chill.

  1. Friday Afternoon

-Some of us may have the October holidays to look forward to and some of us may not, but there is one holiday around the world that never gets ignored; Friday afternoon. Whether you have an action filled weekend that sees you take an exhilarating and much anticipated mini-break or merely a relaxing weekend which sees you become best friends with your couch and Netflix, we know you are lying if you say that the corners of your mouth do not turn up into a smile as that much-watched clock hand hits 5pm. Let’s be honest, it is not so much just a smile but also a Hallelujah!

  1. Working at The Spires

-*Cheese Alert* and it has arrived in all its cheesy glory! I cannot speak for everyone, but coming into The Spires always makes me smile as I am yet to work with a lovelier, more welcoming array of people. Whenever there is a tough moment, there is always someone there to support you or make you laugh (normally with a biscuit or cup of tea in tow) and it makes for a really positive working environment.

Remember, even the simplest, smallest act of putting a smile on someone else’s face can change that person’s day as well as your own. Sometimes we think we are not capable of making a change in the world but that mere power of making someone forget all the stress and sadness that maybe currently inhabits their life is a mighty skill that we should never forget. They say that money makes the world go round, but maybe so does smiling.

We told you what makes us smile, now tell us what makes you smile!

🙂

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/amy-packham/world-smile-day_b_8226728.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Ball