Forget trying to see Cuba before it changes: the change is going on right now. From designers to tattooists, musicians to app designers, meet the young Habaneros changing the face of their city. Plus cool places to stay in the city
It’s difficult to figure out what is going to happen in this country,” Cuban designer Idania del Río tells me. We’re chatting in her first-floor studio in Old Havana, above the design shop she opened just over a year ago. Sporting a Superman T-shirt on which Lois Lane is pictured rescuing the superhero, del Río propels herself across the room on her office chair every time the phone rings. “Some people have had a mental switch. Young people are very energetic: they’re seeing what the future can be and are really enthusiastic about it, but they are focused on the present.”
Del Río is too modest to admit it, but her description of the energy building up in Havana also applies to her shop – it’s the first independent design outlet in Cuba – and to the growing number of independent, outward-looking people and projects springing up in the city.