Writer highlights Havana's rich old world architecture and design through series of photographs

Posted: 24-Apr-16 11:55

With the use of photography from two books by Michael Connors, titled "The Splendor of Cuba" and "Havana Modern", a writer for W Magazine captures the spirit of Havana's unique vintage buildings and homes. From the rich design elements to the original architecture of the country, the author delves into the contrast that exists between some of the city's artistic sites, commercial businesses and neighbourhoods; proving that Cuba is indeed very fashionable, even if that means vintage-style elegance.

Writer highlights Havana's rich old world architecture and design through series of photographs

No wonder Karl Lagerfeld from iconic fashion house Chanel picked Cuba to present its 2017 Cruise Collection! In a country with such a rich colonial heritage and countless edifications boasting avant-garde elegance and old-world glamour, there are inspiring spots (and shots) virtually every step of the way.

As countless foreign travellers plan trips to Cuba enticed by the opening of the country, a magazine writer is using photography to showcase what she feels are some of the best design elements and architectural features of Havana. Stephanie Eckardt writes for W Magazine with a recently compiled selection of photographs capturing certain places and locations in Cuba along with a brief written narrative explaining the history of each building, hall or cityscape photographed.

All pictures are the author’s handpicked selection from two outstanding books by Michael Connors: “The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors” in collaboration with Brent Winebrenner and “Havana Modern: 20th Century Architecture and Interiors”.

In her article "A Look Back at Havana in All Its Glory", published 27th March of this year, Eckardt begins with a photograph featured in “Havana Modern: 20th-Century Architecture and Interiors”. The picture provides a glimpse of the interior of Teatro America. With retro design elements, the writer describes the location as the most favourably preserved art deco movie theatre in the Caribbean.

The next photograph, this one by Michael Connors himself, is that of the exterior of a building in Cuba, complete with a vintage model car parked in front. Located on Cardenas Street, this area is described as being filled with art nouveau.

The following photograph, this one by Brent Winebrenner, details the indoor swimming pool at Casa de Pablo Gonzalez de Mendoza. Originally constructed in 1916, the mansion is now the official residence of the British Ambassador.

Constructed in 1936, another impressive mansion vividly captured by photography and detailed in the article is the Salomon Kalmanowitz residence in the Marianao municipality of Havana. This is followed by an art deco gas station that also captured Echardt’s imagination, photographed in Havana by Michael Connors and complimented by a 1950s Chevy.

With a nod to the arts, the next photograph is of the Palacio del Centro Asturiano. Also photographed by Connors, this palatial building is now home to the country’s European art collection of the Museo de Bellas Artes. The ornately designed Presidential Palace’s Hall of Mirrors follows. The magnificent hall includes ceiling frescoes by Antonio Rodriquez Morey and Armando Menocal, both Cuban artists. This photograph is credited to “The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors”.

Another photograph captures the colonial beauty of Casa del Conde de Casa Bayona. Built at the turn of the 18th century, the site is home to 18th and 19th–century decorative arts and Cuban furniture, set underneath a pitched blue ceiling and complimented by stained glass windows.

As for other locations, Eckardt also displays a photograph depicting art deco elements of the interior of Hotel Riviera, as well as of the decorative façade of the Palacio de las Ursulinas. She chose this latter photograph to reflect the hundreds of years of influence by Spanish-Moorish designs on Cuban architecture. She also chose another location along the Malecon Drive. This picture is of a 20th century building boasting magnificent sea views and showing a glimpse of El Morro castle, captured by Brent Winebrenner.

The writer finishes off her list with a photograph of the faded yet colourful interiors of a home that looks out over the Vinales Valley. This photograph is also credited to Winebrenner, and just one example of the contrasting residential and commercial properties that the writer uses to showcase the City of Havana.

Eckardt’s selection is all in all a fine example of why Cuba is indeed a very aesthetically pleasing destination, full of juxtapositions and aging wonders; with plenty of aged glamour that may be faded at times but lives on regardless, adding to the island unique photogenic appeal. Karl Lagerfeld is no fool ladies and gentlemen!


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