There is an adage in the historic preservation world that poverty is a great preserver. This is a corollary to “do no harm.” A recent trip to Cuba brought these sayings to mind. Limited access to both funds and building supplies has left many Cuban buildings very much unaltered, though longing for TLC. There is a prevailing sense of elegant decay. Yet, concerted focus by the government, particularly in central Havana, and new partnerships with foreign companies has encouraged beautiful restoration projects that involve highly trained craftsmen and attract tourists from around the world.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that celebrates authenticity and finds beauty in the patina of age.