Back in Hollywood’s Golden Age, Palm Springs was the place to be—a getaway just 100 miles outside of L.A. for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and even a honeymooning Mr. and Mrs. Presley. All that A-list attention, plus a post-WWII building boom, helped make the desert fertile ground for innovative mid-century architects like Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams, and William Krisel, who built distinctive spaces honouring the natural beauty surrounding them with scores of windows and indoor-outdoor living space sprawls.
Now in its 11th year, Palm Springs’s annual Modernism Week festival attracts lovers of architecture and design, offering 250 individually-ticketed events spread over the course of 10 days. Kicking off with a James Bond-themed party (a scene from Diamonds are Forever was shot at architect John Lautner’s Elrod House), the festival features highlights like the Mojave Desert Trip tour of the homesteads, ranches, and prefab buildings of the High Desert, the tastemaker-designed show house, plenty of film screenings and walking tours (including a tour of A. Quincy Jones’s Sunnylands estate), and a party at the Museum of Pinball for which 700 beautifully restored vintage arcade and pinball machines will be opened for play.
Wandering rooms defined by geometric minimalism and biometric forms, one understands firsthand the importance of preserving the avant-garde aesthetic of mid-century modernism, perhaps even being inspired to integrate some reproduction pieces into one’s own home. Modernism Week in Palm Springs opens doors into a fascinating world at once nostalgic and timeless.
Modernism Week runs from February 16, 2017 to February 26, 2017.
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