Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Contrarian Ladder Chair.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a now infamous designer who at the time got by on a handful of dedicated clients, created what we now simply call the Ladder Chair. The Ladder Chair has a very particular feel and is out of place anywhere that doesn’t feel like a gallery. With good reason. The chair, like everything he designed at the time, was for one client, and one home.
Though now available through Cassina and other companies, in 1902 the Hill House Ladder Back Chair was created under commission for the published Walter Blackie, for his home in Helensburg, the Hill House. Not simply a chair though, Mackintosh was asked to build everything from the house itself to the contents. The now well known chair was just a chair, and it was a response to the bedroom space. It’s great height, very selective colouring in wood and fabric, set against a white wall were done to great affect.
Stylistically it’s something we’re familiar with, but it was done at the beginning of Japonism in a time when the ornate stylings of Art Nouveau were at their height. To then take use rigid lines to create hard shapes, assembled in harsh blacks was completely against the times. The world everywhere else was focused on the quality of craft, an honest response to material.
Sometimes, change can only be achieved by contrarian means.