A LOT OF TOSHIE

The de­sign com­pany pay­ing homage to Charles Rennie Mack­in­tosh

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

Charles Ran­dak, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of one of the longestest­ab­lished de­sign com­pa­nies in Scot­land, wants to share Mack­in­tosh with the world. And we’re not talk­ing about the cheap, rip-off ‘Mock­in­tosh’ sou­venirs seen in Ed­in­burgh gift shops. The Toshie Mack­in­tosh Col­lec­tion, cre­ated by the team at Ran­dak De­sign, pays homage to Glas­gow’s cre­ative ge­nius with el­e­gance and qual­ity, and it is just in the very early stages of be­ing ex­ported be­yond Scot­land.

‘We didn’t want to lift the rose mo­tif be­cause the shelves are full of those kinds of prod­ucts,’ says Charles, who ex­plains that the idea of reimag­in­ing the de­signs of Mack­in­tosh for the mod­ern world sprang from a trip to Europe, when he re­alised you could buy qual­ity prod­ucts in Spain, France and Italy in­spired by their most fa­mous de­sign­ers and crafts­men. ‘We wanted to go deeper and do some­thing sim­pler to ref­er­ence Mack­in­tosh. We wanted to take an el­e­ment that was im­por­tant to him and make it work in an­other di­men­sion for to­day’s mar­ket – that was our start­ing point.’

Toshie is based ex­clu­sively on the square mo­tif used ubiq­ui­tously in the de­signs of Mack­in­tosh, most no­tably in the Glas­gow School of Art and The Hill House. In his in­tro­duc­tion to Toshie’s new book, Roger Bill­cliffe says of the Glas­gow School of Art: ‘Mack­in­tosh in­tro­duced a pat­tern of squares on each land­ing. They ex­plore the ap­par­ently in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties that Mack­in­tosh saw in what was now his favourite mo­tif.’

For Charles, the squares mo­tif also has a num­ber of prac­ti­cal

It’s a very work­able lit­tle de­vice you can have fun with

ben­e­fits. ‘It’s a very work­able lit­tle de­vice; it’s a fun­da­men­tal mo­tif you can do lots of things with and have fun with and em­bel­lish and ex­tend your de­sign. It’s very con­tem­po­rary and ver­sa­tile.’

Much like The Four who cre­ated the orig­i­nal Glas­gow Style in the 1880s and 90s (Charles Rennie Mack­in­tosh, Herbert MacNair and Mar­garet and Frances Mac­Don­ald), Charles and his team at Ran­dak De­sign are Glas­gow School of Art alumni. And like their pre­de­ces­sors, who cre­ated a dis­tinc­tive style which is eas­ily recog­nised across the world, Charles wants peo­ple to ac­knowl­edge the prove­nance of his de­signs as be­ing in­trin­si­cally linked with Glas­gow.

Toshie was born seven years ago and ba­sic de­signs were first pro­duced by John­stons of El­gin, who cre­ated wraps, scarves and bags as a cap­sule range for Kelv­in­grove Art Gallery and Mu­seum.

To­day, the brand boasts a va­ri­ety of fab­rics and wall cov­er­ings and Charles has his sights set on ma­jor clients and de­sign projects. ‘We’re re­ally aim­ing at cor­po­rate of­fices, air­ports, ho­tels and even cruise ships,’ he says.

Hav­ing al­ready se­cured a high pro­file Scot­tish client who is us­ing the Toshie de­sign in their of­fices, Charles is look­ing to tap into mar­kets fur­ther afield. He has just re­turned from a trip to New York where he was meet­ing with ar­chi­tects and in­te­rior de­sign­ers in­ter­ested in Toshie’s de­signs.

Charles’ goal is to see Toshie in a bou­tique ho­tel in Man­hat­tan, where he imag­ines the more as­tute guests will ap­pre­ci­ate the heritage of the sub­tle squares. ‘It al­lows the story to evolve – these squares are all re­lated to Scot­land’s most cre­ative ge­nius and the most sig­nif­i­cant build­ing in Glas­gow,’ he says.

Asked what he thinks Charles Rennie Mack­in­tosh – who was greatly un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated in his life­time – would say if he came back to­day and saw a bou­tique ho­tel in New York us­ing the wall cov­er­ings and fab­rics of Toshie, Charles says, ‘I think he would come back and say, “About bloody time!”’

Above left: CharlesRan­dak. Right (clock­wise from topleft): Mack­in­tosh’s iconic ‘squares’ from the in­te­rior of his Hill House; Soft Char­coal ‘tile’ fab­ric in the ‘But­ler’s Pantry’ at The Hill House; A suite of ‘tile, check and fret’ fab­rics from the Toshie Mack­in­tosh In­te­ri­ors Col­lec­tion. Carmine ‘check’ cush­ion in the master bed­room at The Hill House; Soft Char­coal ‘check’ bed cover in the master bed­room at The Hill House.

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