One of the interesting things about my job is the opportunity to meet and share information with other corporate Archivist. I received an e-mail this week from Pepin Argamasilla, Bacardi Historian/Archivist and 6th generation Bacardi family member,that I wanted to share with you. He sent me a photograph of an early Coca-Cola sign they found in their collection. The following is from his e-mail.
The attached image is of the Edificio Bacardi de la Habana or Bacardi Building in Havana, Cuba. Construction started in 1924 and completion was in 1930 at a cost of $1.4 million. Therefore this image should date at around 1928-1929. The building still stands and is located on Havana's Calle Monserrate corner of San Juan De Dios.
Its design was the result of a closed competition between the most important Cuban architects of the time; the project was awarded to Esteban Rodríguez Castells, Rafael Fernández Ruenes, and José Menendéz. While the original project featured facades with Renaissance details, what happened next underlines both the desire for modernity and the importance of international influences.
After the contest, the architects traveled to Paris, where they were astounded by the new architecture they found there. After returning to Havana, they completely changed the ornamentation of the building, while retaining its original scale. Using terra cotta ornamentation on the facade and creating an opulent splendor for the interior, which has its own exhibition hall and mezzanine bar decorated with gilded palm trees, they crowned the edifice with a giant bat on its highest finial.
Behind the missing area were two nymphs by American illustrator Maxfield Parrish whose unique style set him apart and earned himiconic status during his lifetime. He mastered the mysterious effects of light and iridescent colors through a difficult glazing technique, enhanced by the invention of his luminous "Maxfield Parrish blue." The Edificio remains as one of the first truly great buildings of Havana.
Old Photo is: Courtesy Bacardi Heritage Foundation
Contemporary Photo is: Photo by Kenneth Triester and courtesy Bacardi
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