Design Havana is a pilot program of EcoArt Project aimed at establishing collaborations with designers and design industry stakeholders in Cuba. The program is co-produced with the Cuban Artists Fund and Art For Promotion. Through this initiative, we aim to promote the potential of a “green” economy in a nation currently standing on the cusp of expanding industrialization, besides discovering new talent in Cuba and pioneering international cultural exchanges as well as technological know-how and eco-sustainable development.
In May 2016, within the program of the first Design Biennial of Havana (BDHabana, May 14-20, 2016) we presented a workshop at the ISDi - Istituto Superior de Disêno Industrial in Havana, and launched the Design Havana Competition, the first eco-sustainable furniture and lighting design competition in Cuba, in collaboration with ONDi - Oficina National de Disêno (the Cuban national bureau of design) and Proyecto Espacios + LAB 26, and with the endorsement of the Italian Embassy in Cuba.
Cuba-based designers and architects (students, emerging and established professionals) were invited to submit their best eco-friendly furniture and lighting design proposals, for residential, hospitality and commercial use for the “green” marketplace. A total of 37 projects were submitted to the competition that closed on February 28, 2017. Five finalists received an award of $1,000 USD each and their prototypes were exhibited at the Design Havana Exhibition inaugurated on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 6 p.m. at LAB 26 (located at Calle 26 No. 255 between 19 and 21, Vedado, La Habana, during the XIV Cuba Design Week.
Submissions were evaluated online by a jury composed of experts in the fields of interior and furniture design and production, style, media, architecture, communication and eco-sustainability. The panel includes: architect and designer David Rockwell, Founder and President of Rockwell Group, a global architecture and design firm; Carlo Ducci, Features Director, Vogue Italia and Casa Vogue, Condé Nast publications; Gisela Herrero Garcia, Chief of ONDi; Ilene Shaw, Principal of Shaw&Co. Productions, a leading NYC-based design marketing agency; Brent Sikkema, Founder of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., a contemporary art gallery in Chelsea NYC; Vilma Bartolomè, Co-Founder of Proyecto Espacios and LaB26 in Havana; Giulio Vinaccia, Italian design consultant and Founder of Vinaccia Integral Design; Pino Fortunato, Founder and Executive Director of EcoArt Project.
The winner of the Design Havana Prize, Amalia Martínez Caballero was announced at the opening of the exhibition and she was invited to participate in a fully subsidized and personalized two-months design-residency program in Italy at our partner Falegnameria Salandra. This award has represented an unparalleled opportunity and experience for cultural exchange and learning of best practices in design and eco-sustainable production of furniture and interiors.
Through the competition and following ongoing development we created a platform of about 150 Cuban designers and we are now planning new collaborations and initiatives.
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Below are the five finalists and the winner. To see all projects submitted please visit the EcoArt Database here.