Mackintosh at the Willow

Mackintosh at the Willow

The Willow Tea Rooms Trust

Design of world-class exhibition and visitor centre for Mackintosh at the Willow, spanning two floors and adjoining the original Willow Tea Rooms. Our work included exhibition space planning, 3D design, research, copywriting, graphic design, digital interactives and digital design.

The interpretive exhibition and visitor attraction tell the story of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his most loyal patron, Miss Catherine Cranston, set against the context of late Victorian and Edwardian Glasgow. The displays are designed to engage a wide-range of visitors from local people to specialist interest visitors, from school groups and families to international audiences.

A range of engaging interpretive media is used to tell the story of Mackintosh and Miss Cranston. Highlights include a large wall of digital ‘dinner plates’ containing film and animated imagery which sets the scene for the city at the turn of the 20th century and the display of the beautiful doors from the Salon de Luxe, the glittering jewel at the heart of the building.

A specially-commissioned film explores Mackintosh’s design of The Willow, bringing to life his original drawings for the building. Digital drawing boards allow visitors to zoom in on the detail of Mackintosh’s drawings.

Visitors are introduced to Glasgow 1901 through a large wall of digital ‘dinner plates’ containing film and animated imagery which sets the scene for the city at the turn of the 20th century.

Tea cups with mini-audio dramas tell Glasgow’s story as a centre of tea importing in the late 1890s.

Digital drawing boards allow visitors to zoom in on the detail of Mackintosh’s drawings.

A specially-commissioned film explores Mackintosh’s design for The Willow, bringing to life his original drawings for the building. Visitors can sit on reproduction Mackintosh chairs to view the film.

Visitors can explore the 1901 International Exhibition, where Mackintosh and Miss Cranston both exhibited, through interacting with the large scale lightboxes and inset screens.

Mackintosh’s large murals designed for Miss Cranston’s Buchanan Street Tea Rooms are recreated in the exhibition. Visitors have the opportunity to digitally colour one of the stencils and see it projected at life-size on to the mural in front of them.

We commissioned reproduction furniture. This, Mackintosh’s first chair design for Miss Cranston was one of his most innovative design solutions.

The exhibition traces the story of the first tea room in the city through the rise of Miss Cranston’s own growing empire. This interactive allows visitors to digitally blend their own tea based on original recipes from the 1890s.

Dressing up as Mackintosh and Miss Cranston is not just for children!

The first floor displays reflect the lighter colour palette: whitewashed cypress timber creates an envelope to hold the displays. Here tactile elements combine with digital displays.

The exhibition contains a number of reproduction pieces of furniture. Visitors can sit on the striking yellow settle designed by Mackintosh for The Willow in 1917, and have their photo taken.

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