Inspiration abounds on every travel adventure in my life, whether through architecture, nature, food or culture. There’s a hidden design agenda on every journey, filled with moments of discovery and of course, hundreds of photos.
When I travelled to Cuba in 2014, I was lucky enough to find inspiration in all of these areas. And as Cuba becomes more accessible to travelers from the USA, we are seeing, more and more, the influence of this beautiful country and its culture in designs of furniture, fabric, wallcoverings and tile. Some of my favorite design moments in Cuba lie in the natural beauty of the environment and tropical style. Visiting the eco village of Las Terrazas was an inspiring experience.
Surrounded by lush greens and vibrant blues, the scattered white buildings that house the 1,000 residents are picturesque.
Much of the art of local artist, Lester Campa, seems inspired by these surroundings. His work, “Lovers,” featuring palm trees reaching toward one another, brings these hues of blues and greens to life in the Royal Palm – which is not only the national tree of Cuba, but a beautiful reflection of the nature visible from his studio nestled in his tiny community.
This wall covering from Elitis – the Cuba Libre collection captures a tropical feel, with lush palm leaves superimposed on a raffia background.
One of the most colorful stops during our time in Havana was the home of Jose Fusta in
Jaimanitas in the outskirts of Havana. Fuster has spent much of his life decorating and designing, manifesting in a work of public art that is full of color and life. Inspirational use of broken tile materials and sculpture culminates in a must see exhibition.
Fusta helps fund his public work with the sale of his art where visitors can see his whimsical characters and animals painted on 8×8 tiles as well as recycled records and canvases.
Image via Soydcuba
From the colorful and vibrant tilework, to the old cars, which now serve as taxis, lining the streets; much of the beauty and design in Cuba is emphasized because for just a little while, time stood still in this historical city.
Flooring patterns in cement or concrete tile are abundant throughout Cuba, and have held up over the years. These designs are being used to inspire not just flooring, but bathroom and kitchen designs for a fresh spin on the old.
Image via Cotedetexas
Image via Granada Tile
Intricate designs surround doorways throughout the city. Architectural details remind us that Cuba is rich in history, and old architecture with traditional influences. Our fascination with the beauty of design and the intrigue surrounding what has been left behind can be restored as a source of style and inspiration.