Antique Colonial: Walking on works of art
Tania Livia Fernández is a film and television producer. However, in March 2016 she took up the art of restoring and producing floors. “Businesses are usually the children of necessity,” she says. In her case, she had bought a colonial style house, built in 1935, and the greatest difficulty she faced was restoring the original mosaic flooring.
It started with a small contract at the Havana City Historian’s Office. “First they opened the doors of the Office to me, and then those of their heart. They are my raison d’être; we help and support each other,” she notes. The initial work was the restoration of 30 square meters of floor at the Observatory Museum of the Belén Convent.
At present, 90 percent of the floors Tania and her team manufacture correspond to orders from the Historian’s Office. Their skill can be appreciated in historic buildings such as the Rafael María de Mendive Primary School, the Museo de la Orfebrería, the Palacio del Segundo Cabo and, recently, the National Capitol Building, all located in the Cuban capital.
More than 300 designs speak for the expertise of Antique Colonial. Behind this name, which evokes the decorative floor tiles that emerged two centuries ago in France, are three mosaicists and Frank Lugo, a chemical engineer and friend who “is my eyes where I cannot see; for me we make the perfect pair,” Tania confesses.
“We make the mosaics using aggregates, cement, dyes. And our secrets, in addition to the skills of the creator, are the seriousness, passion and dedication with which we take projects on. This, like everything in life, is a process of trial and error. If we make a mistake, we start over and over again until we get it right.”
In Tania’s opinion, this is work of much detail, care and dedication. Meticulousness is key because, occasionally, the elaboration of a single tile requires 50 manipulations. She even respects the original method and size used by the French in the 19th century, although the color is selected by the client.
“In four years, the learning and perception has been immense; especially with respect to architecture, geometry, beauty and creativity. The result is a collective effort, and together we achieve quality in proposals such as pots, tables, walls and floors for different rooms,” she notes.
Countless private businesses have decorated their spaces with the tiles produced by Antique Colonial. Among them are Tigre Amarillo, Las Carolinas Flower Shop, Baldini Bakery, Lola Café and others. The most grateful clients share their sentiments on social networks. They have recognized Tania’s persuasion and intelligence to realize dreams and whims, the personality and variety of her productions, and the certainty in the solutions, ideas, tones and design.
Her inspirations are many, from Japanese art to decorate a place with that theme, to paintings by artists like the Frenchman Henri Matisse. “This constant reinvention, together with the will, sacrifice and effort allow Antique Colonial to continue making great strides,” she concludes.