Wanderlust: Puerto Rico’s Built World
Architecture & Interiors
It’s true that looks aren’t everything, but for design lovers of a certain ilk—namely, Americans with an affinity for Latin esthetic sensibilities—Puerto Rico offers heaps of unexpected beauty. There’s the natural variety, of course—perpetually blue skies, endless sandy beaches dotting its Atlantic coast, waves that beckon surfers to its western shores, rain forest waterfalls, roadside hibiscus blooms—but esthetes are more likely to be swayed by the island’s soulful built elements.
The silvery blue cobblestones that pave the streets of Old San Juan; its narrow, winding alleyways, tightly packed with houses, creating vignettes seemingly lifted directly from Van Gogh’s depictions of Arles; wrought iron gates and window grills lining residential streets in the southern city of Ponce, intricate and ornamental enough to warrant a more exalted place, or at least protection from merciless exposure to sun and salt; preposterously handsome Colonial buildings scattered throughout the island, some restored to perfection, others abandoned to crumble and rust; Art Deco-influenced modern skyscrapers that appear to have been extracted from the Miami skyline; and, most viscerally, a symphony of applied colors: yellows, pinks, purples and aquamarines—even construction hoarding may be assigned something as lyrical as violet—that make contemporary notions of color restraint seem downright miserly.
Photos: Promila Shastri