I think that most, designers especially, are constantly inspired by travel. We tend to focus so much on where we live, the kind of aesthetic that our natural habitat dictates (i.e. French, New Orleans, etc.) but it is always so refreshing to travel to a place where the inspiration is unexpected, yet so rewarding.
I had the opportunity to travel with my family to Cuba recently, which was an absolute marvel. I have had friends that have traveled to Cuba since the ban on travel has been lifted and have returned to New Orleans full of marvel and experience that only traveling to a magical place like this can bestow. It is indeed a land of faded colonialism, untouched by decades of development that the Western world has grown up with. There is an entire industry devoted to keeping the cars on the road, new in the 1950's (they really don't make them like they used to), the buildings show their age in a way that only New Orleanians can appreciate, and a sense of an lifestyle untouched by time.
We had the opportunity to travel to Hemingway's house in Cuba, Finca Vigía. This place is truly untouched by time as it was turned into a museum in the exact way that he left it. What I found so touching and inspiring about this place was that it was left untouched by time, just as much of Havana was, but how timeless these interiors were. In design, I believe that we truly strive for the definition of timelessness - no one wants an interior that is dated, speaks to the immediacy of a certain look, or ends up looking very cookie cutter.
The beauty of these interiors was that each individual part worked so seamlessly as a whole. It was each part - the books, the taxidermy, the simple textiles - complimented each other perfectly. This is what, as designers, we strive for. Making each individual part come together to make a whole picture.
I wanted to include some pictures for you to peruse on your own, without comment. I hope you find them as compelling as I did.
An outbuidling on the Finca Vigía
Hemingway's Writing Studio
Hemingway's Dining Room
As you can see, the simplicity of this place is marvelous. The incredible building speaks for itself, sparsely but lovingly furnished.
Until next time,