Category Archives: Thoughts On Design

My Fascination with Cuban Architecture and Interior Design

The prospects of having access to Cuban architecture and interior design are simply AWESOME! I am pouring through on-line travel brochures to see which ones have the most comprehensive packages. I cannot wait to go!

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The problem is there is just too much – Cuba is an island jammed with inspiration from colonial to mid-century modern and everything in between. It is colorful, organic, elegant, refined, casual, inviting – EVERYTHING is there on this one 750 mile long island.  450 years of preserved architectural history.  What is amazing though, is that we see photos and hear in the news that the island is in decay but I found 2 authors who have both proven otherwise.

I’ve discovered Michael Connor’s book “The Spendor of Cuba” where the pages unfold an incredible visual history of architectural styles. Cuban architecture dates back as far as the 1500’s and is a veritable museum of period after period of architectural treasures – all intact or as he cleverly put it….“preservation by neglect”. Hermes Mallea, a Cuban born architect practicing in NYC left Cuba at the age of 5 returns to Havana and published a book – the “Great Houses of Havana”. He too, looks at the preserved rather than the decaying. Magnificent photo records of what we would see. He recants that there are “protocol” houses that were taken over by the Cuban ministry who then restores and operates these magnificent homes for foreign diplomats and important visitors. Who would have thought!

With all of this interest in Cuba, I would bet my nickel that we will be seeing design inspirations shortly all over the place; in fashion, unquestionably. My prediction is that we will be seeing it in interiors too – a new spin on color – fresh pure sun-washed colors; turquoise, yellows, greens and pinks.

Mid-century modern will have a tropical flare – natural fabrics like burlaps and linens will be used as upholstery or wall material. The options will be unfettered, fun and limitless because of the wealth of new visual information out there.

While I wait for my opportunity to explore Cuba, my focus has turned to websites about Cuban influenced design materials, inspirational photographs and particularly one female Cuban interior designer that I found, Clara Porset. Clara studied in Paris, Europe and in New York. She discovered Bauhaus architecture and design while in Europe, which influenced her furniture and interior design work in Cuba and in Mexico. Her work was simple, straight forward and organic. Now she is included as one of my inspirations!

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With a history of 450 years of Cuban architecture and interior design – this will be the new old frontier!

Here’s a list of websites about Cuba’s architecture and design that I’ve been exploring…enjoy!

http://www.greathousesofhavana.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD0aFvxymeY http://www.cubanartnews.org/news/cuba-rediscovers-clara-porset/3832

http://cubantropicaltile.com/collection.html
http://www.cementtileshop.com/cement-tile/cuban-heritage-collection-encaustic-cement-tile.html
http://www.villalagoontile.com/as-cuban-tile.html
http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/cuba-travel-changes-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-laws-on-visiting-cuba