This month, the May 2015 issue of Architectural Digest seems to be celebrating one of Cuba’s biggest treasures, its architecture. I purchased the seductive issue (seen above) only to be completely confused when I opened the magazine to read the actual story. AD’s Mitchell Owens, who seems like a wise and elegant man, visited Havana for a week on a pre-baked architectural travel tour so it was a quick “drive-by” trip with limited time to go off the beaten path (The US Embargo rules may have limited him here, although he does have the right to book a longer trip that is more tailored to the needs of truly researching deeper stories through the “Journalism” license).
Did I mention this cover is a total fake-out? The perception is that Architectural Digest shot an interiors story, right? Wrong. This cover photo of a Pistachio-colored bedroom (a staple shade in Cuba) is actually from another spread of a home in Morocco. Notice the cover claims “Inspiring Style” with a another headline “Plus the Allure of Cuba”. Not cool. I worked in the magazine business for years, and I can just sniff the editorial meeting agenda here — “make it look like a Cuba cover story” yet cover your tracks so it’s not officially a lie.
The real Cuban article inside reads more like a guide to Cuba from the pages of Lonely Planet, with the generic references of Hotel Saratoga and Nacional Hotel seen through stock photos, or some pastel exterior buildings through Mitchell’s point-and-shoot camera.
Tsk Tsk AD. What a tease. Mitchell, please return to Cuba and research some homes with original content. And if you have questions with legally curating a deeper tour of architecture, give us a ring here.
To the rest of AD readers, if you’ve been to Cuba before, skip the print article and just watch the video for architectural insights. Why do so many of Havana’s building have large arcs and what is the thought behind the enormous gated windows?