Another chance for an urban exploration during my forced trip to Glasgow while my beloved camera was repaired and checked up by the excellent A.J.Johnstone and Co camera repair shop near Glasgow Central. I had a couple of hours to spare for sightseeing and urban photography in the nearby Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture.
John recommended visiting Mackintosh Interpretation Centre on the third floor. Adjacent to the exhibit was the access point to one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commissions – Water Tower of the former Glasgow Herald building that is now the part of the Lighthouse.
I climbed up the spiral staircase to the top floor viewing platform to check out those promised uninterrupted vistas of Glasgow cityscape used to entice the tourists. Seeing the rough exposed brickwork visible from the stairs was almost a tactile experience! To think that this Mackintosh landmark structure was built to house an 8,000-gallon water tank for sprinklers in the event of fire (the poor Glasgow Art School that burned earlier this year surely needed one of those).
Ahh – the wind and the views on top of the observation tower sang of freedom! People on the street below looked so small.
The Lighthouse, a premium exhibition and event venue, has naturally become a hub for Scottish creatives so the concentration of various street art pieces in the surrounding area is not surprising. I saw a giant panda crawling out of the bamboo jungle spray-painted by Scottish based graffiti artist Klingatron right next to the Lighthouse entrance.
A little further along Mitchell Street is Smug’s awesome Girl with Magnifying Glass spanning four storeys, a definite show stopper! I already wrote about it in my spring piece about Glasgow street art but last time I didn’t reach Rogue One’s Taxi Balloons depicting a photorealistic passer-by hailing the levitating cab.
Less accomplished but equally intent on invigorating the drab utilitarian urban environment are other examples of Glasgow street art phenomenon that I noticed around the Lighthouse. The colourfully eclectic Chippy Doon the Lane even had its rubbish bins painted blue and purple. The bricks of the Scottish Power substation on Mitchell Street are dressed in bright blue and also feature graffiti.
By the way, Glasgow City Council commissioned a city centre mural trail map, should you also decide to explore this eye-catching form of public art.