Following on from last week’s post I gave some thought to trying to identify the less classical forms of architecture to be found here. I knew from my guide books that there were fine examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco within Havana, but perhaps I’d walked straight past them in my ignorance without recognising the difference, or even their existence? Both are European forms originally, but were successfully adopted on the other side of the Atlantic too. Art Nouveau followed the Industrial Revolution and perhaps as a reaction to that embraced natural, flowing lines and curves. Think of the Paris Metro, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or Tiffany lamps.
Art Deco was a reaction to the Great War, so you might expect an abundance of even more romanticised design to arise in attempt to forget such horrors, but instead we find clean, sleek, modern design as exemplified by New York’s Chrysler Building. Before the Revolution in 1959 Havana was a magnet for celebrities, socialites and mobsters, and was a successful city with a long history, so it should be no surprise to find examples of both styles here. Did I find examples? Of course I did. But can you tell the difference?