13 March 2013 by Alex Stewart
This week, for the first time, Cuba’s capital Havana will host the World Congress on Art Deco, which will run from 14-21 March 2013.
The event unites global specialists as well as UNESCO, the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS), and Havana’s powerful City Historian’s Office, in an attempt to preserve and restore the city’s deco heritage.
Cubans had lobbied the US-run ICADS for 10 years to host the biennial world congress, which was first held in Miami in 1991. Habana Deco, who are hosting the congress, will also run lectures, exhibitions and new art deco tours for visitors, taking in key buildings such as the elegant Edificio Bacardí (below) in Old Havana.
The city is a wonderful repository for Art Deco architecture. Early examples date from 1927 and the Edificio Bacardi, dating from 1930, is still thought to be amongst the finest in the city.
The Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the Lopez Serrano building built by Ricardo Mira and inspired by the Rockefeller Centre in New York are other stand out sights. However, there are fine buildings to be found throughout the districts of Old Havana, Miramar, Vedado, Playa and Cerro.