On the heels of the announcement that the United States will begin restoring relations with Cuba, the Design Leadership Network (DLN) announced its partnership with NYC's Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation, and will be taking designers and architects in the DLN to Cuba this spring as part of a tour with Cuban-American architect and designer Hermes Mallea.
While it's largely unclear how far-reaching these new relations will be or how fast change will come, the DLN says this is still an opportune time to visit the country, particularly because Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation is a licensed travel provider to Cuba.
“This unique opportunity exemplifies the DLN as evolving toward an increasingly varied platform for the benefit of our members and sponsors,” said DLN Co-founder Peter Sallick.
As part of Havana: An Insider’s View of Architecture and the Arts (May 30 to June 4) a handful of architects and designers will explore historic spaces and meet with Cuban architects, artists, craftspeople, museum officials, urban planners and more.
“Havana is truly the Paris of the Caribbean for architecture, design, art and music,” said Chas A. Miller III, executive director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation. “It had an incredibly sophisticated society, and the public and commercial buildings are familiar yet totally unique. This all exists with a time stamp ending in 1959. Fortunately, for the last 20 years or so, the government and the people have respected this unique character and have been working on restoring and looking after properties, as best they can in a hurting economic situation. For American designers and architects, it is a chance to step into a world that is recognizable, and yet not overly glitzed—there is a purity in what one visually sees.”
Throughout the trip, guests will visit the following houses as seen in Mallea’s book Great Homes of Havana:
• Catalina Lasa House (1927), with interiors by Rene Lalique.
• Finca La Vigía (Lookout Farm), where Ernest Hemingway lived for 20 years. This house museum is unique in that visitors view the rooms through open windows from the terraces that surround it.
• Gomez-Mena family home (1927), which now houses the Museum of Decorative Arts.
• The residence of the Swiss Ambassador, a home completed in 1958 as designed by Richard Neutra with gardens by Roberto Burle Marx.
In addition, the trip will coincide with the 12th-annual Havana Biennial, which means there will be these special benefits for trip-goers:
• Meeting artists and their representatives at Castillo de la Cabaña
• Viewing some of the most important biennale exhibitions, with work by both Cuban and foreign artists.
• A visit to Pabexpo, another Biennial venue; this pavilion exhibits the artwork of some of the most renowned Cuban artists. An evening art presentation at the Ludwig Foundation for the Arts. The Foundation President will host a cocktail reception and buffet dinner on the penthouse terrace overlooking the city.
• A private dinner at the home of a renowned Cuban artist and his American wife, along with invited guests.
The cost per person is $5,895, including flights from and returning to Miami, five-nights' hotel in Havana, deluxe coach and most meals.
To join the roster of interested travelers, request a brochure, or for other information, please call 212-223-2012 or email Chas Miller (this trip is for DLN members only, mention your participation with the DLN in the email).