Art Nouveau’s legacy in Havana is picked up for the most part through its architecture. It includes exiguous, isolated buildings, tardily generated between 1900 and 1920. The most significant examples are found along wide avenues in central city areas, while others are disseminated here and there as small pieces shaping the grid of compact blocks in denser zones, or in distant neighborhoods; all of them proudly figure as part of this style’s repertoire, bounded predominantly to the residence topic.

In essential difference with Europe, Art Nouveau in Havana appears more as an elegant skin than a conception that organically impacts the form of space. The style is mainly circumscribed to an ornamentation superposed to neoclassical and eclectic facades. This tropical version is indebted to Catalonian masters, which migrated from their native land between 1790 and 1840, looking for better economic opportunities.

This important Hispanic community, deeply rooted in the island by the second half of the XIX century, contributed its savoir faire in construction techniques and handcrafts. Catalonians took roles as promoters and authors; one of their major contributions was the creation of workshops for the production of prefabricated decorative elements, decisive for the dissemination of modernism which led to the term of mould architecture . The most recognized were perhaps the ones known as Ornaments in cement and plaster property of Baltazar Ustrell and Fabrication of artificial stone and all kinds of cement ornaments which belonged to architect Mario Rotllant .

Elements of art nouveau inspiration went beyond masonry in architectural design; they widely appear in carpentry, iron work, stain glass, ceramic tiles in floors and socles, stairs balustrades and garden and urban furniture. It is also common to find them in interiors, in wood and metal furniture, lamps and in an incredible variety of utilitarian and decorative objects.

There are a few places in Havana which concentrate exponents of this style. One of them is Cárdenas street , to the southwest limit of Havana ‘s Historic Centre; the other in Manrique street within the compact grid of Central Havana Municipality. These are unique examples of conjunction at urban level scarce as the Art Nouveau’s own print in the city. 

Image artist function date
Mario Rotllant
Eugenio Dediot Recolin
Joan O. Tarruel
Josep Planas Rivas
Alberto de Castro
Arturo Marqués Marqués
Ramón Magriñá
Jaime Cruanyas
Hilario del Castillo
José Joaquín Bosch Avilés
Albert Crusellas
Pedro Iduate Petit
Francisco Anastasio
José Mato
Francisco Ramírez
Lorenzo Rodríguez
Narcís Bou
Arturo Marqués
Tomás Bustillo
Ignacio Vega Ramonteau
Federico de Arias Rey
Cover Author Description date Link
Leonardo Morales La arquitectura en Cuba de 1898 a 1929

La Habana, El Arquitecto
Joaquín Weiss Medio siglo de arquitectura cubana

Imprenta Universitaria, La Habana
Joaquín Weiss Art Nouveau: la rama cubana,

Revista Cuba,La Habana.
Vivien Acosta De Europa a Cuba: Art Nouveau

Universidad de La Habana, La Habana
Roberto Segre, E. Cárdenas y L. Aruca Historia de la arquitectura y el urbanismo: América Latina y Cuba

Ed. Pueblo y Educación, La Habana
Roberto Segre La arquitectura moderna en América Latina

Ed. ISPJAE, La Habana
Eduardo L. Rodríguez La Habana. Arquitectura del siglo XX

Ed Blume, Barcelona
Eliana Cárdenas El Art Nouveau en La Habana, Arquitectura y Urbanismo

La Habana
Tate Cabré Un amor que fa historia. Catalunya a Cuba

Ed Edicions 62, Barcelona

Nelys García Blanco
Dirección de Cooperación Internacional
Oficina del Historiador de La Habana
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Plaza Vieja
La Habana Vieja
CP 10100
La Habana
Phone: +53 7 869 72 12

Local Partner:
International cooperation’s office
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Oficina del Historiadorde La Ciudad de La Habana