Mackintosh’s iconic furniture designs are a firm favourite with filmmakers and appear in a variety of productions on the big screen. Their timeless, modern lines and inventive use of geometry and proportion lend themselves to all sorts of settings. Elsewhere, their iconic status and high value have seen Mackintosh’s chairs used to signify an appreciation of modern design, marking out the taste and wealth of their fictional owners.
This slender high backed chair, originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the hallway of Hill House, has featured in a multitude of productions. Used to signify a sophisticated, yet sociopathically stylised life in American Psycho, the chair appears in protagonist Patrick Bateman’s (Christian Bale) immaculately curated collection of monochromatic modernist furnishings.
The chair pops up in the similarly stylish apartment of an art collector in the raunchy Kim Basinger & Micky Rourke thriller 9 ½ weeks, a dining room in Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces and in a diplomatic meeting room on sci-fi television series Babylon 5.
Potentially the most famous appearance of Mackintosh’s furniture on film, the Argyle chair features in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner. Through a visual feast of consumerism and decay, Blade Runner portrays a dystopian future on earth where human civilisation is caught between the height of technological advancement and its own demise. The Argyle chair appears in the shadowy apartment of protagonist Deckard, in an encounter with the android Rachel. Mackintosh’s Arts and Crafts influenced chair sits within an eclectically retro-futuristic set inspired by the interiors of American contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright.
This design classic also pops up in the comedic The Addams Family film with Angelica Houston playing Morticia and Christiana Ricci as Wednesday Addams, adding to the mock-gothic grandeur of a séance scene.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s unique Willow Settle appears in the multi-layered sci-fi film Inception featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. This mind-bending, location-tastic adventure following an architect who manipulates space, time and memory, features a luxurious Japanese themed interior with Mackintosh’s Willow Settle at centre stage. You can’t miss the references to Mackintosh’s stylish designs throughout this section of the film, from room proportions to light fittings, themselves heavily inspired by Japanese architecture, with dark wood, light, and balance.
Originally designed by Mackintosh for the Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, the chair’s curved lattice back represents the willow tree, and was to be used by the Manageress or tea room supervisor.
Where else for more Mackintosh furniture?
Mackintosh’s famous furniture designs and his architectural legacy can be experienced first hand in Glasgow - from design details at the impressive Mackintosh Church to the domestic interiors of House for an Art Lover and the unique collections of original furniture and artworks at The Glasgow School of Art.