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Vivid Expressions: Color Blocking in Cuba
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Vivid Expressions: Color Blocking in Cuba

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 11 October 2017
Cuba is not only this year’s hottest destination for travelers, it’s also a design lover’s dream. Each street in Havana, Trinidad, and Viñales pops with vibrant, pastel hues and tropical, Mediterranean shades. Home and design editor Amber C. Snider hit the pavement to capture the island country’s chromatic scenes and color blocking.

A photo journey in Cuba’s color blocking

Over in the historically preserved town of Trinidad, some structures date all the way back to the 16th century. This house in the heart of the city is a stunning example of Spanish architectural elements (terracotta roof tiles and painted stucco exteriors) mixed with modern flair. The color blocking seen here – orange, mustard, earthy browns, and “Havana blue” – is certainly on-trend for home design at the moment, but it seems Cubans picked up on that cue many, many seasons ago.

House in Trinidad
House in Trinidad | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

The stores in Havana may be a bit scarce, but they certainly make up for it with color. This local store in Centro Habana features its goods on a series of boxed shelves, all painted with classic pastel hues.

A local store in Centro Habana
A local store in Centro Habana | Edit by Amanda Suarez, photo by Amber C. Snider

This Cuban house in the town of Viñales features a playful sea foam green shade, a quirky boxed shape, and a flat roof with a fluttering clothesline. Vivid colors, ranging from bright pink to deep turquoise blue, adorn the facades of all the houses on this countryside road.

Viñales, Cuba
Viñales, Cuba | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez, © Amber C. Snider

Reminiscent of an eclectic diner in the United States, this tiny cafe in Havana packs a serious color punch with its deep vibrant reds, rich blues, and pops of turquoise. The tiled tables are not only reminiscent of a classic Spanish design trope, but are also a currently trending décor idea.

Restaurant interior in Havana
Restaurant interior in Havana | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

The prevalence of vintage American cars around Cuba is certainly a side-effect of the U.S. embargo, but even more, it shows the astounding ingenuity of the Cuban people. If something is broken, they fix it. Vapid disposability is simply not a part of this eclectic culture.

Havana street
Havana street | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Callejon de Hamel is perhaps one of Cuba’s most famous streets for art. Located in Centro Habana, the Callejon de Hamel is a street filled with murals, galleries, and installations, all dedicated to Afro-Cuban art and Santeria. Created, designed, and maintained by one local artist, Salvador Gonzáles Escalona, the now-infamous street is a cultural haven in Cuba, and bursts with stunning color and texture at every turn.

A cafe in Callejon de Hamel – an entire street dedicated to the arts in Havana
A cafe in Callejon de Hamel – an entire street dedicated to the arts in Havana | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Cuba’s doors and windows are an Instagrammer’s dream. The heavy wooden, ornate doors pop with color in nearly every house in Havana, and are normally juxtaposed with a contrasting shade on the house’s facade. Not enough can be said of these narrow visions, these entryways into entire “interior” worlds.

Streets of Cuba
Streets of Cuba | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Trinidad is a perfectly preserved colonial city with calming pastel shades on virtually every building. The smoothed over stones that make up the cobbled streets will make you feel as if you’re transported to another time period, while also gaining design inspiration for your next project.

Trinidad, Cuba
Trinidad, Cuba | Amber C Snider / © Culture Trip

The color pop on the vintage cars is a sight to behold. And they’re not “for show” either – locals, including cab drivers, use their cars daily to get around the city. With each passing vehicle, you get a glimpse of stunning color, ranging from the ubiquitous “Havana blue” shade to bright, bubblegum pink. One local said that he paints his car frequently with spray paint and uses a gloss finish afterwards to keep the look fresh.

Antique American cars in Cuba
Antique American cars in Cuba | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

This doorway color block scene brings together some of this year’s most popular shades. The door’s teal color is now considered “the world’s favorite color,” according to a recent survey, and the pastel yellows and berry tones were also listed as the most coveted colors for Autumn and Winter 2017.

Trinidad, Cuba
Trinidad, Cuba | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Mellow yellow and bright, turquoise colors produce an inspiring, yet tranquil effect, whether in street scenes, cars, or even as coats of paint for your living room, kitchen, or porch.

Havana
Havana | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Another example of the classic “Havana” blue that can be found around every corner. Set up against this beige, muted wall, the shade really stands out. At home, you can consider adding this Havana blue in décor items around the room, while keeping your walls neutral.

Centro Havana
Centro Havana | Photo edit by Amanda Suarez © Amber C. Snider

Special thanks to Fisheye Journeys for providing an immersive travel experience and insight into the art and culture in Cuba.