IN late 1994, a then 31-year-old Brad Pitt was on the homestretch of filming Gothic horror flick Interview with the Vampire alongside Tom Cruise in Paris. 

With the cast given a five-day break from the shoot, Pitt escaped the French capital for London, where, after a few pints in a quiet pub and a quick stop in a department store to buy clean underwear, he boarded a train heading north for his final destination, Glasgow. 

The reason for his visit? To fulfil a long-held ambition to pay homage to one of his heroes and tour all the buildings in the city designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

A co-conspirator to his Mackintosh-motivated Parisian escape in the form of a Rolling Stone reporter detailed how, after Pitt fell for a barmaid, the pair ended up dining on homemade chicken soup at said barmaid’s mother’s house - in Maryhill, where Pitt spoke “about his architectural tour of Glasgow, relating the similarities in the work of Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright”.

During his visit, Pitt is thought to have toured both Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art and his domestic masterpiece, Hill House in Helensburgh, which he would revisit some 17 years later when he found himself back in Glasgow to film scenes for zombie apocalypse flick World War Z.

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In the summer of 2011, Pitt and then wife Angelina Jolie booked a private tour of Hill House – which was built for Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie between 1902 and 1904 – and spent several hours viewing its rooms. 

Staff at the National Trust for Scotland property said the pair were especially interested in the decor in the master bedroom, with Hill House property manager Lorna Hepburn adding that Pitt “was clearly very knowledgeable about Mackintosh”.

So, how did Pitt develop his love for the work for Scotland's most celebrated architect and designer of the 20th century?

A love which, following the fire which engulfed the Mackintosh Building in 2014, saw him agree to become a trustee of the Mackintosh Appeal - a campaign launched by the Glasgow School of Art to raise £20 million to help restore the Mack.

In 2012, Pitt, who has long been vocal about his love for architecture and design, launched his debut furniture collection - featuring tables, chairs, a bed and a minimalist marble bathtub for two.

The Herald: Brad Pitt visited The Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art in 1994Brad Pitt visited The Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art in 1994

Speaking to Architectural Digest about the collection, which was created in collaboration with Frank Pollaro, a New Jersey-based designer famous for his Art Deco-influenced style, Pitt revealed that he had been “doodling ideas for buildings and furniture since the early 1990s” when he “first discovered [Charles Rennie] Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright”.

It was a discovery that Pitt says was made when, while studying journalism - with a focus on advertising - at the University of Missouri, he was “looking for a lazy two-point credit to get out of French” and found himself taking a class in architectural history.

Pitt cited Mackintosh - and a motif that heavily features in his work - when speaking about his table designs, which had as their recurring theme the substitution of conventional legs for one continuous line of structure, saying: “I can’t wholly articulate it, but it started with my introduction to Mackintosh’s Glasgow rose, which is drawn with one continuous line. But for me there is something more grand at play, as if you could tell the story of one's life with a single line - from birth to death, with all the bloody triumphs and perceived humiliating losses, even boredoms, along the way. It’s just a story, in the end, of highs and lows. From beginning to end. But a personal story. And of course if you were to connect those ends, it becomes a continuum.”

Commenting on Pitt’s furniture collection at the time, Stuart Robertson, who has been director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society since 2001, said: "It shows that people are still looking to Mackintosh for inspiration, and that his designs are timeless."

In a BBC interview following the fire which ripped through the Mackintosh Building in 2014, Pitt, who is arguably the most famous devotee of Charles Rennie Mackintosh alive today, spoke of his admiration for Mackintosh and the building widely considered his architectural masterpiece. 

He said: “It’s one of the great buildings. It’s an artistic building where art is made and art is learned. Mackintosh was one of those rare individuals who created his own voice, his own vernacular in building and design. He’s just always been one of my favourites.”