José Antonio Villa Sené

Havana, Cuba

Cuban interiors and furniture designer José Antonio Villa Sené was born in Havana in 1987. He studied industrial design, graduating from the Higher Institute of Industrial Design (ISDI) in Havana in 2011. Since October 2011, Villa Sené has worked for Proyecto Espacios: Arquitectura, Diseño y Arte, an important interior design group in Cuba. In that capacity, he has worked on dozens of projects in Cuba and abroad, including, among others: the Great Theatre of Havana (2015), the cultural center Palacio del Marqués de Arcos, La Torre restaurant, Hotel Catedral (all 2015, Havana), and the Mundo Imperial resort hotel (2013, Acapulco, Mexico). As of this writing, Sené has exhibited with Proyecto Espacios at the Spanish Embassy in Havana (2015), the Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Centre (2013), and the International Crafts Fair in Havana (2013 and 2014). Since 2014, he has been Lead Designer at Proyetco Espacios.

Villa Sené has collaborated with other Cuban artists and designers on occasion, including noted sculptor (and 2008 Cuban National Art Award-winner) José Villa Soberón on multiple projects. In 2015, Villa Sené began collaborating professionally with fellow Cuban designer Raiko Valladares. As of this writing, the pair’s standout projects include Link and Vibra (both 2015). The former is a conceptual artwork featuring a two-headed hat that reflects on the notion of connectivity and data transference. Vibra, meanwhile, is a series of three chairs inspired by Cuban music; made in Havana, they are composed of a ubiquitous nylon chord that is woven around metal frames. Vibra was exhibited during the XII Bienal de La Habana at the Cuban Art Factory in Havana and at the Havana International Fair in 2015.

Describing his approach, Villa Sené notes: “I like the challenge of producing design solutions in Cuba, a country with a really depressed industrial capacity. Our country needs great creativity from designers to accomplish the most important projects. My work is based on the revitalization and reuse of common and accessible materials—wood, metals, plastic ropes, and ceramics—to generate brand new and experimental projects. Exploring new ways of building relationships between the user and the product is a main part of the creative process of my designs.”