• Thomas Russell

Thomasville’s new take on Hemingway line gets modern twist

The latest Hemingway collection at Thomasville, Havana Modern, takes design inspiration from various aspects of old Havana where Hemingway frequented — and lived — between the late 1920s and the ’50s, including his estate just 20 minutes outside the capital city.

The collection is launching just as Cuba has begun to attract more tourists and visitors since the lifting of major travel restrictions in early 2015.

The 60-piece collection, which includes several sectional, sofa and chair frames, was designed by Jena Hall, who has visited the country twice, in 2007 as part of a mission trip and this past October. Pieces have a number of mid-century-inspired designs inspired by Hemingway’s years there and furniture seen in his residences there.

“Everybody is interested in Cuba and Hemingway’s life there,” Hall said in reference to the growing popularity of the country and interest in the Nobel-prize-winning author’s history in Cuba.

The collection mixes several wood species including mahogany, walnut, maple and primavera veneers with materials such as stone and marble seen on the tops of wood pieces such as nightstands, cocktails and end tables. Mahogany veneers can be seen in sunburst patterns on a number of pieces, including a rectangular dining table that has an open late Art Deco-inspired base, the headboard of a wood panel bed and on the door of a chifferobe.

A Trump L’Oiel detail in walnut, mahogany and maple is seen on the doors of a bunching curio cabinet that can be used as a dining room or library office piece.

The bleached primavera on a dining table top was inspired by the deck of a boat Hemingway owned that is still on display at his estate.

Other material elements include faux raffia seen on the drawer fronts of a three drawer chest and acrylic accents such as finials on the posts of a canopy poster bed and the hardware of a companion nightstand.

Dining chairs bear designs from the 1950s, when Cuba was a travel and gambling destination for many American tourists.

Hall said the collection is a way to rejuvenate the line in a way that would reflect how Hemingway might live today, capturing elements from both the period and from specific pieces he owned, yet updating them with a mix of classic deco and more modern design elements.

Havana Modern is on display at the Thomasville showroom in space C-603 of the International Home Furnishings Center.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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