Bacardi’s Architectural Legacy in Cuba
A testament to the enduring relationship between Bacardi and Cuba, the country where the world famous spirits company was born and exiled, the former Bacardi sales building still stands as one of the principal landmarks in the city of Havana.
Designed and created for the Bacardi company by the architectural team of Esteban Rodríguez Castells, Rafael Fernández Ruenes, and José Menéndez, who were awarded the contract following an international competition, the Bacardi building was completed in 1930. Twelve stories high and displaying a figure of the Bacardi bat, the company’s logo, atop its central tower, the building is remarkable for its extensive use of the Art Deco style.
Art Deco was the assertively modern visual arts style that dominated the years between the World Wars, mixing Arts and Crafts motifs with contemporary Machine Age imagery and often characterized by striking geometric shapes, detailed ornamentation, and rich colors. The Bacardi building is a quintessential example of an Art Deco structure: It boasts a lavishly decorated and embellished façade, which features an Art Deco rendering of Havana’s coat of arms; a series of glazed terracotta reliefs on the upper part of the building representing geometric and floral patterns; and many sumptuous interior details such as stained glass, mahogany paneling, and mural paintings.
Having undergone an extensive restoration process that was completed in 2003, the former Bacardi building today is a major destination for Havana sightseers.