Return of La Buena Vida: Conran Poised for Cuban Invasion

Sir Terence Conran, the designer and founder of the Conran Shop, has made preparations to design a dozen hotels and resorts in Cuba.

terence conran

Sir Terence, who revolutionized the sale and marketing of home furnishings in the sixties and seventies, has applied for a series of 75-year leases with his development partners, he said in an interview yesterday at the Conran Shop in New York. The projects are on hold until the U.S. lifts travel restrictions to Cuba. “To build tourist facilities, you need investment,” he said.

The projects include golf courses which, he said, are made possible by the development of turf that can be irrigated with salt water. A fresh water system would be prohibitively expensive in Cuba, he explained.

What would a modernist Cuba look like? The crumbling Communist outpost had a brief mid-century modern period shortly after the revolution, the remains of which Sir Terence has found moldering in and around Havana. But his main impression, not surprisingly, is of abject poverty. “They get by by smoking cigars, singing and dancing,” he observed. MC