One thing not to miss in Havana
This modernist tribute to ice cream is one of the many highlights in our newly published Wallpaper* City Guide
One of the great pleasures of travelling is the way in which you can enjoy high and low culture. Take, for example, this beautiful Modernist structure, which features in our newly updated Wallpaper* to Havana, Cuba. Aesthetes can marvel at the mid-century, cathedral-like interior, while gelato-lovers can indulge in a (Castro-approved) scoop or two. The new guide explains all.
“The ice cream sold here is one of the few post-revolution luxuries, Castro’s let-them-eat-cake gift to the people,” explains our new guide. “Fidel himself was obsessed with it (Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez once saw him eat 18 scoops at lunch.) The futuristic concrete pavilion, a design by Mario Girona, was prefabricated and assembled in just six months, opening in 1966.
“The vaulted upper level (above) is sectioned off with wood and coloured glass and its spidery arms stretch out into a park shaded by banyan trees. There’s space for 1,000 customers yet still there are queues for the day’s flavours (there were originally 26, but now perhaps 10 if you’re lucky); it’s an unmissable slice of urban theatre. Note that foreigners are corralled towards a van where you pay in convertible pesos, but if you have local currency, join the long line.”